My Rating : ***
With TRANSSIBERIAN, Brad Anderson proves once again that he has an exceptional ability to craft a suspenseful thriller. Leaving behind the overtly Hitchockian style that made THE MACHINIST such an interesting formal exercise, Anderson this time shoots his film in color and roots it firmly in the present. Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer) have just finished working with children overseas as part of a church project.
Before flying back to the States, they decide to travel from Beijing to Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Express train, where they meet two fellow travelers, the handsome Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and young Abby (Kate Mara). The couples bond, but gradually Jessie becomes worried that her new friends are involved in drug trafficking. At that point, the web has been spun, and when the intimidating Russian detective, Grinko (Ben Kingsley), arrives, Roy and Jessie become innocent targets in a dangerous chase. Anderson’s script, co-written with Will Conroy, helps to elevate TRANSSIBERIAN beyond mere thriller status. Without the suspense, it remains a well-executed portrait of a complicated relationship between two real people. Mortimer is her usual fantastic self, and it’s fun to watch Harrelson play an average, upbeat American guy. Throw the always riveting Kingsley into the mix and you have a motion picture that is above average in every way. By the time the film reaches its payoff, viewers will have felt as if they, too, took a ride on the Trans-Siberian Express.