The Girl on the Train, starring Stephen Lang, Nicki Aycox, Henry Ian Cusick. Directed by Larry Brand. Not rated.
Actually, there are two girls in this skimpily budgeted, suspenseless neo-noir. One is an indelible golden-curled vision from a Holocaust survivor's remembrance of a concentration-camp-bound train, as filmed by NYC documentarian Danny Hart (Henry Ian Cusick of TV's Lost). The other is the blandly secretive Lexi (Nicki Aycox), a poor man's femme fatale who becomes the hangdog romantic Danny's obsession when he meets her on the upstate commute to interview the old Jewish man. In parallel time cuts, the film slips between the on-camera WWII anecdote, Danny's pathetic courtship of a woman playing him for a mark, and his later interrogation by a gruff detective (Avatar's Stephen Lang) after being duct-taped to a hotel room chair with a corpse nearby. Ostensibly boned up on screenwriting books that insist all dialogue should "pop," writer-director Larry Brand (a direct-to-video thriller stalwart, cowriter of the eighth Halloween, and onetime assistant to Orson Welles) smothers his anticlimactic script in excessively florid repartee about love, alternative universes, unreliable storytellers, and their gullible listeners. "I haven't quite figured out if you're a victim or a suspect," the cop grouses, but there's no bite to the criminality, the motives, the acting, or the filmmaking to make us care. Aaron Hillis