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TransSiberian (2008)

January. 18,2008
| Thriller Crime Mystery

A TransSiberian 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.


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A thriller aboard the Trans-Siberian line, stretching 5,000 miles from Beijing to Moscow, is certainly original. Transsiberian director Brad Anderson, certainly has fun with the exotic setting but his main characters could use more spice. There's no question that trouble lies around the next snow in the tracks and the good thing is seeing how the trouble unspools for the couple. But by the time the always excellent actor Ben Kingsley takes over as a Russian inspector Anderson's once- promising trip gets better and stays more in the rails. It's not a totally terrific combination of action, mystery and adventure but works on the whole.


A few things in this movie will frustrate you beyond belief. But nothing really that should make it less effective.I liked this movie enough. If not for some of the set-up, it is an interesting idea that sometimes balances too uneasy on what is common sense and what is reality for the savvy film watchers.While not perfect, I enjoyed watching the story unfold. There are moments of the first meeting of the couple that will have you scratching your head, but is soon forgotten once a plot turn occurs. Some of what we often assume will happen with the story, does turn. And I was a little off-put by Emily Mortimer's portrayal of a "bad girl" turned straight. She seemed to be a little too convenient. And doesn't have a wounded appeal I think it takes to play...really dual roles. The surprises and turns aren't over dramatic. Nor does the story need to be. It has some quiet moments, some very typical moments, and then...you do want to stick around to the end. Not because it finishes strong, but because they do leave a lot on the table.As one other reviewer pointed out, don't dwell on it too long. But as long as you have some time and have exhausted the new releases, this isn't a bad one to pop in and have a look.


Russian police detective Ilya Grinko (Ben Kingsley) investigates a likely gangland murder for drugs in Vladivostok. Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer) are Christian missionaries taking the train from Beijing to Moscow. He befriends cabin mates Spanish Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and his girlfriend Abby (Kate Mara). Roy is trusting while Jessie has her suspicions. Carlos is transporting a collection of souvenir matryoshka dolls. After a stop, Jessie finds Roy missing from the train. Assuming he missed the train, she leaves at the next stop to wait for Roy. Carlos and Abby get off with her. The next day, Carlos takes Jessie to an abandoned church. He tries something which escalates into Jessie killing Carlos. She returns to the train and finds Roy with a new cabin mate in Grinko.There's a train. There's an attempt at suspense. It's looking like a Hitchcock movie. However there are things that keep gnawing at me. First of all, I doubt anybody transports drugs from Beijing into Russia. It just makes no sense. It's tough enough to get drugs into China with the death penalty as your reward. Why would anybody keep transporting it around? Just sell it in China. I buy that drugs come into Vladivostok but why bring it into China just to go back into Russia. It's not a short cut anybody with drugs would ever take.As for movie, it's not that suspenseful. The characters are more annoying than anything. I didn't particularly like Roy or Jessie. They are annoyingly naive. It's some kind of stereotype of Christian missionaries. I also don't really understand why Carlos is waving the dolls around. People just act strangely. Roy seems completely clueless. Carlos seems like such a clingy bad guy that I can't buy Jessie's flirtiness unless they give me a reason like Jessie and Roy have sex problems. In general, I have problems with these character doing what they do. As the story gets more and more twisty, I lose more and more interest. I never buy into these people and I don't care about their predicaments.

Tauren Humnus

Stereotypical, "Russia - bad; USA - good" rubbish. I hated the female main character more than any other written character EVER. (This includes King Joffrey Baratheon from Game of Thrones!). She literally gets away with murder and convinces herself and everyone around her that she is a victim. The end shows the main character telling her murder victim's girlfriend where his body is so she can collect a shitload of cash. This same girl was tortured and beaten because of that main character but hey, water under the bridge. PATHETIC excuse for a film. The entire second half of the film I found myself anticipating the moment that bitch would get a bullet in her face. Alas, that moment never came. Disappointed to say the least!