Film: Transsiberian

Cover image


Director: Brad Anderson
Distributor: First Look Pictures

Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer) are the perfect American couple traveling from Beijing to Moscow on the legendary Trans-Siberian Express train. The two strike a bond with another couple, Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Abby (Kate Mara), who are not exactly as they appear. Unwittingly, Roy and Jessie are caught in a web of drug trafficking and murderous deceit when all four become targets of ex-KGB detective Grinko’s (Ben Kingsley) investigation.


In Transsiberian, a train twisting across the white Siberian landscape becomes a trap for a well-meaning American couple, Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer), who find themselves pursued by a Russian policemen (Ben Kingsley) while on a trip to Moscow. On the train, they befriend a younger couple—but the charming pair hold secrets that draw Roy and Jessie into a frozen nightmare. Transsiberian’s snowy setting is both beautiful and eerie, providing an evocative atmosphere that helps carry the viewer through the sometimes bumpy plot. At its core, Transsiberian is about the anxiety of being in a new world—be it a new country or a new phase of your life—and not knowing the rules, the fear of taking the wrong step and falling. The thriller plot is little more than a delivery system for that sensation. But really, all director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Next Stop Wonderland) needed was Mortimer’s limpid face; every tremor that crosses her pale skin reverberates through the camera. Her essential vulnerability first came across in Lovely and Amazing; Anderson makes good use of this rare quality. —Bret Fetzer

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