Monday, 13 February 2017

Your Valentine's Day Film Choice: The Romcom is Dead, Long Live the Thriller!

Not so long ago, the British romcom was a guaranteed hit, here and overseas.  Audiences couldn't get enough of them, with Hugh Grant convincing Americans that foppish, adorable dandy was the typical British bloke.  The inevitable disappointment when reality bit, even for anyone who did bag the actual Hugh Grant, must have been immense.  But in all those Working Title/Richard Curtis collaborations, from Four Weddings and Bridget Jones to the apogee of Love Actually, the tills sang and the public grinned and/or swooned.  But, the classics notwithstanding, we have finally turned our backs on romance, it seems.

Charade, 1963

Hollywood seized the zeitgeist and thrust stars like Kirsten Dunst, Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston and Hilary Swank into some awful to OK, but largely forgettable, films.  The British romcom almost ground to a halt, with cute films like Once reaching a niche audience, and even the big hitters like Simon Pegg in Man Up (pleasingly OK), barely scraping £2m at the box office.  A slap in the face after the £250-350m of the Grant-Curtis heyday.  Only 50 Shades of Grey has come anywhere close (no pun intended) in recent years, grossing an astounding £571m, and that was hardly 'romantic comedy'!

So if we've ditched the romcom, what are we watching? Arise the thriller.  OK, and superheroes, and Star Wars (again), but they're not exactly couples films.  In fact, the films we Brits are most likely to snuggle up on the sofa and watch this Valentine's Day is a good old thriller.  Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt and Jack Reacher have all had recent outings, and there's been another Independence Day, but what we've also seen is a rise in more female-led psychological thrillers and they have created quite a buzz.

What did she see?

Psychological thriller novels are huge and, from the much-hyped Gone Girl to the quieter Before I Go to Sleep, they are transferring well to the big screen.  The latest in the genre, The Girl on the Train, sees Paula Hawkins's bestselling novel transferred from London suburb to New York suburb, perhaps inevitably since Hollywood is where the big money is (hence there being less noise about British-made Before I Go to Sleep).  And it makes the move beautifully, with aspirational leafy suburb Ardsley-on-Hudson playing a major role, and the stunning Pottery Barn interiors giving most female viewers more of a swoonsome moment than Justin Theroux does.  If you're looking for an interesting, plot turning thriller this Valentine's Day, watch The Girl on the Train.

To find out more about The Girl on the Train DVD release, read our full review here.

The Girl on the Train is available on Digital Download, Blu-ray and DVD now!


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