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Transsiberian (2008)
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Review Date: July 07, 2008
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Brad Anderson, Will Conroy
Producers: Julio Fernandez
Actors:
Emily Mortimer as Jessie
Woody Harrelson as Roy
Eduardo Noriega as Carlos
Plot:
An American couple doing some good in China decide to take the transsiberian train through Russia on their way back home, and fall upon another young couple, whose background isn’t very well known. As the foursome get to know one another, we come to realize that there is a problem with tourists “muling” drugs through these trains, and that the police is on the lookout for any such people. Woody Harrelson in a rug, drugs, a murder and lots of weird looking Russians…ensue!
Critique:
A unique picture that left me feeling – for the first time in a very long time – like I’d actually been in another place, another world…so very different from my own. You know…like a good movie should do! Kudos to writer/director Brad Anderson for, once again, crafting yet another amazing looking movie that manages to mix a handful of elements and come out with a character-driven flick that also tosses some blood, drugs and mystery into its core. Unfortunately, the film’s first hour builds its characters so well and mannered, that its final half hour feels like another movie altogether, one that sorta works, but doesn’t really gel with the film’s superior start. The ending also felt a little rushed and “cleaned up”, such that the film’s darker roots suddenly switch on a dime, and the next thing you know, things are a lot cozier all of a sudden. Not that I’m complaining too much about that, seeing as I was happy to see the characters that I’d been invested in for the film’s first half, conclude on lighter notes than might have been expected, but at the same time, the film’s ominous “feel” disappeared in the end, as the “tying up of loose ends” seemed to be the more important aspect by then. Props also have to go out to all four of the leads in the film, each of whom did an excellent job of portraying their characters’ various moods and personalities.

Emily Mortimer probably had more to go through than any of the others, but I particularly appreciated Eduardo Noriega as the mysterious Spanish dude whom Mortimer and a less obvious Woody Harrelson meet on the train. Kate Mara also has to be given props for playing the mysterious Spanish dude’s mysterious girlfriend. The film really works because we don’t know much about any of the characters at the beginning of the movie, or anything about their background or long-term goals, but as they discover each other and themselves on the train, so do we. Things get a little zanier midway through the flick, with a murder taking place, than a drug investigation led by Ben Kingsley in his best Russian accent taking over, but it all worked fairly well when it all wrapped up. That said, I think I would have preferred that they not gone down that more “commercial road” in the end, and rather focus on the story, the developing characters and their hidden secrets and motivations, but hey…I’m just a fuckin’ critic, what do I know? The film is a definite watch though, especially for fans of Anderson’s previous work, SESSION 9 and THE MACHINIST, two movies that whipped me upside the head. So if you enjoy movies set on trains featuring shady characters and mysterious circumstances, you’re sure to enjoy this one as well. Oh, and bring a winter coat…it looks damn coooold out there!

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR 1:1 INTERVIEW WITH WRITER/DIRECTOR BRAD ANDERSON
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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8:14AM on 11/03/2008

Great stuff..

I throughly enjoyed this flick. Looking forward to catching it again on DVD.

I throughly enjoyed this flick. Looking forward to catching it again on DVD.

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