Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.



Review by Paul Edwards

Murder. Death. Intrigue. Sex. Lies. Videotape. These descriptors are basic ingredients to your normal everyday thriller.  Unfortunately, this is also the case with Transsiberian. Transsiberian requisitions the basic thriller premise with a strong performance by Emily Mortimer, that turns an otherwise forgettable day trip into a slight entertaining thriller that is worth a gander on a cold and rainy night.

Transsiberian follows Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer) as they vacation through Russia en route to China, using the Transsiberian train, a train that is both the main location for the action and a sub-textual plot device.  Feeling isolated among the new-found seedy underworld that now inhabits the once great train, Roy and Jessie gravitate to another couple that seems to be relatable. They seem to hit it off, but they seem to hide dark secrets that only come out once Roy is out of the picture.

As I mentioned before, the film is carried on Emily Mortimer’s back. It is her journey that the film follows. She did an amazing job capturing the feelings of isolation and entrapment that a tourist can have when they go somewhere unfamiliar lose someone they love. Sir Ben Kingsley helps her along with a somewhat subdued but important appearance. The train is used effectively as a means to isolate Emily and her conflict throughout the movie; it adds a different sort of spice to the basic genre of the movie. but regrettably, not enough.

I still feel as if the story could have used some work, because as it was, it was mostly forgettable.  Yes, the train was used as a pretty good plot device but take it away and you’ve got just another thriller with underdeveloped characters and muddled pacing.  As an example, the movie kind of founders until it is nearly over, with most of the time spent wandering around the wilderness.  Which makes great for cinematography, but not a particular interesting movie.

So, in conclusion, I would not recommend this movie even though Emily Mortimer does a great job in it. The story is much too slow and the same basic thriller ingredients are present. 

2 / 5 stars

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