First Look Pictures
Picture it: a train ride from Beijing to Moscow in the wintertime. Trees covered in snow, little towns dotting the hillsides. Sounds idyllic, right? Well, Roy and Jessie (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) think so, too. After a church trip to Beijing, they hop on the Trans-Siberian railroad for a short adventure before heading back to the States. What they don’t expect is that they’ll come face-to-face with a Russian drug cartel along the way. Writer/director Brad Anderson does a good job of building the suspense, as the couple’s trip turns from adventure to horror. The desolate cities and curious cast of characters—including Ben Kingsley as a Russian police officer—add mystery and intrigue. The only disappointment comes in hastily resolving plot points that had been developed with painstaking detail. Roy, for example, is a good, caring Christian man. But the essence of his character is thrown to the side in at least one scene seemingly just to move the plot in the direction it needs to go. Jessie is much more flushed out—the main character, really—and Mortimer does an excellent job portraying her complex personality and transformation from content to just plain scared. Despite its weaknesses, TransSiberian is an enjoyable—albeit frightening—ride.