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Transsibberian [2008] is a psychological mystery-thriller that tells the tale of two American travelers Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer) on their way from China to Moscow by using the old sturdy means of transportation, the train. They encounter a mysterious couple Abby (Kate Mara) and Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) who befriend them become entwined in the couple’s journey there. Jessie reluctantly develops a growing attraction for Carlos and then boom, her husband goes AWOL.

Destination from hell. Purely from personal opinion, how anybody would willingly want to take a trip like this is mind-boggling. The film does a brilliant job of highlighting the lack of safety afforded to foreign travelers on the train. As the train reaches Moscow, some of the political nuances are discussed to provide an overview (in a non-lecturing type of way). This is all done with great restraint, due to its status of not being a documentary and obviously, no one has signed up for one.

Director Brad Anderson does little to highlight it as a go-to travel experience. The word bleak comes to mind when describing the atmosphere of the train ride. So, of course, friendliness afforded to this American couple by other train travelers is troublesome and cause for suspicion.  The camera pays special attention to the facial expressions of each pertinent character that the audience puts a priority on deciphering the motives of this well-traveled couple. Sir Ben Kingsley plays a pivotal role in moving the film's narrative during the middle of the film and of course, his screen presence never hurts. The first half brings us more mystery than thriller and vice versa. Everything is where it needs to be, no fat or fluff to eat up some screen time.

 

So, avoid Moscow?

Watch Transsiberian on Amazon

Transsiberian
3.5Overall Score
Reader Rating 1 Vote

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