Genres: Crime, Drama,

Rated: R

Country: UK

Year: 2008

Runtime: 111 minutes

Studio: Filmax Group

Review done by: Serial McKiller
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Eduardo Noriega,
Thomas Kretschmann, Ben Kingsley

Director: Brad Anderson

Synopsis: A Trans-Siberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes
a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple
encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers.


Writer/director Brad Anderson has an eye for old stylings when it comes to
thrillers. In the case of his newest thriller "Transsiberian", he channels
Roman Polanski's very dry, and methodical work in the 60's and 70's like
"The Tenant" and "Rosemary's Baby" with a plot slightly closer to that of
Alan Parker's "Midnight Express". Emily Mortimer delivers one of her best
performances as Jessie, a former wild child who's reformed with her
husband Roy played by Woody Harrelson. They're heading back to Moscow
after doing church work in Beijing, China and taking the transsiberian train
that'll take them through one of the harshest tundra's on earth. While on
the train they meet their bunk mates Carlos played by Spainish actor
Eduardo Noriega and Abby played by "Shooter" actress Kate Mara. But
there's something fishy with these two.

Later you find out whats the real story with them and you meet Ben
Kingsley's obsure Russian Narc detective who's searching for drug
smugglers. "Transsiberian" is really one of those thrillers that don't get
made often anymore because of it's tone and pacing. It's really more a
drama with suspense to it, but it doesn't take a lot of normal turns to tell
its tale. Oh no, Brad Anderson knows how to spin everything around in
such a way the tension piles as the pressure is applied just as it should.
These performances that he captures are pitch perfect. Harrelson plays off
as a kind of jolly, American tourist really along for the experiences and
who's happy with his work, but wants more to his life with Jessie then what
he has. Think of Hank Hill, but more open minded to leave Texas and thus
the United States for adventuring and serving people in need.

Eduardo Noriega adds a lot of flair to his role as Carlos who's shady as can
be, but still very likeable, much like real people. And this is seriously the
best role Ben Kingsley has had in years. But Brad Anderson seems to be
more a ladies man here as Emily Mortimer and Kate Mara are golden.
Mortimer's got a subtle sexiness to her but a lot of sophistication and
flaws. I also loved her in David Mamet's "Red Belt" which is one of the best
films of this year and in Woody Allen's "Match Point". Why on earth is she
not more well known is beyond me because she's got what it takes to be in
the forefront. She's not a hero or a damsel in distress here, but a real
person and she reacts in the same way most of us would honestly react.
And Kate Mara under plays her character wonderfully. Abby is seemingly
sweet but you know about her somewhat off-putting past and it only
makes you question her present and future more.

In all honesty I think Mara has the capabilities to be a female Matt Damon,
but she needs to keep finding strong character driven roles like this one.
As far as Anderson films go I'd say this is my favorite, but it's still not
perfect. The slow pacing can be at times too much and as thrilling as the
film definitly is at times, it sadly lacks the power punch that grips you. A lot
like his last film "The Machinist" with Christian Bale. Although I think I
enjoyed this a bit more. He definitly has the potential to make a thriller that
would blow up huge and I think he's a guy who's understated enough to
deserve it. But it'll need that extra kick in the pants to make it happen. But
for now "Transsiberian" works as an old school suspenseful little drama
with great, award worthy performances and skillfully executed.

Overall: 8/10
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