the girl on the train

Movie or book?


The Girl On The Train

Since its’ release in February 2015 ‘The girl on the train’ by Paula Hawkins has been a phenomenon; cut from the same cloth as ‘Gone Girl’ it was pretty obvious after its success that the movie version would follow and it has ploughed through all in its path. The trailer looked good, although I had yet to succumb to the clickety-clack of the noise that surrounded it. Last week I read the book; this week I saw the film and I asked myself the ago old question. Was the film better than the book? The answer, no, but I didn’t like the book much either. I’m baffled as to why people have taken such unlikable characters to heart. I still think a better ending would have been if a train had ploughed through both houses (no plot spoiler I assure you).

Films that are better

Readers will generally contend that in almost every case the book is better than the film, but I have to challenge this. ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks is a case in point; a lovely book, but an absolute romantic classic as a film. I realise it is too schmaltzy for some, but I think it is excellent. Going back more than fifty years ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ added depth to the character etched out in the book. The same could be said of ‘The Godfather’, brilliantly brought together by Francis Ford Coppola and exceeding Mario Puzo’s vision.

Lord of the Rings?

‘Lord of the Rings’? Honours even for me on this one. How about the comic book franchises? I love Michael Keaton’s ‘Batman’ – a much better version than Bob Kane’s original; the Dark Knight series has carried on the winning method. What about other classics? ‘Rebecca’ was a fantastic film and I think better than the du Maurier book. ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ by David Lean exceeded even the words on the page by Charles Dickens.

It seems we all win

So what of those that can’t touch the written word? My new friend Agatha Christie will never be exceeded with her version of ‘And Then There Were None’; the same is true of all Roald Dahl film adaptations. The word on the page far outweighs the splendours of the screen. Christie and Dahl both being brilliant storytellers. We could probably spend all day extolling the virtues of the written word and the celluloid miracles, but here we definitely win. Those who love story over the whizzbang of special effects win either way with great tales told in any medium. The real winner is our imagination as we share the visions of the writer and director combined, but I still won’t bother with another ride on the ‘Train’.