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Transsiberian
DVD disk
11.17.2008 By: Mathew Plale
Transsiberian order
Director:
Brad Anderson

Actors:
Woody Harrelson
Emily Mortimer
Ben Kingsley

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After an American couple (Harrelson, Mortimer) decide to take the Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow, they encounter murder, drug trafficking, and a peculiar couple.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Two couples, one American, the other a Spanish/American mix, travel from China to Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Railway. They wind up cabin mates, but are still strangers even whilst sharing dinner, secrets, and rare matryoshka dolls. During a stop in Irkutsk, Roy of the American couple misses the train, leaving his wife, Jessie, with the mysterious pair. This is the tease, the set-up for the bigger, later thrills that blanket Transsiberian.

This is a railroad-mystery, like the kind Hitchcock and Sidney Lumet (by way of Agatha Christie) made masterpieces of. Director Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Session 9) isnít on either Hitchís or Lumetís level, but his Transsiberian draws comparison to their pertinent works. Like the aforementioned filmmakers (especially Hitch), Anderson peppers the surprises in precise locations of the film and leads the story on more paths than a railway should ever span.

We assume Roy (Woody Harrelson) is dead, or worse, and his amateur photographer wife (Emily Mortimer) is naÔvely hopeful. But how optimistic is the other couple, Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Abby (Kate Mara)? And what are they up to while Jessie is sitting by the phone, waiting to hear from her husband? And then thereís the backstory that only we, and maybe a handful of the passengers, seems to keep in mind: Police and dogs are sniffing out every train traveling from Beijing to Moscow, searching for drug traffickers.

Enter one of the other keys to Transsiberianís mystery: Ilya Grinko (Ben Kingsley), a Russian narcotics detective who appears in the first scene and not again for another hour. Co-writers Anderson and Will Conroy deliberately take their time to establish characters, mood, and story, which makes the payoffs even greater when they finally do arrive.

The symbolism of the snow lays on thick (as it does when used in other movies), but the plot is too enthralling to be worried about the easy routes that Anderson takes. Transsiberian is a bleak, atmospheric thriller that, once it gets going, never stops.
THE EXTRAS
Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Transsiberian is one of the most tense films of 2008. Though this disc is bare, this is a must-rent for those that haven't seen it, and the rewatchability makes it a must-own for fans.
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