By: Denis Blot

DVD Features

Video: 2.35:1 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1


Theatrical release: 10/24/2008
DVD released on 11/04/2008 by First Look
Running time of 111 minutes

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Ben Kingsley, Thomas Kretschmann, Eduardo Noriega

Director: Brad Anderson

Plot: A Trans-Siberian train journey from Beijing to Moscow turns into a thrilling chase of deception, drug trafficking and murder when Americans Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer) and a pair of fellow travelers, Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Abby (Kate Mara), are targeted by ex-KGB detective Grinko (Ben Kingsley).

All of us have some sort of association to trains, whether it be the “I think I can” of The Little Engine That Could, the claustrophobia inducing crowds of commuter trains, or even the passing countryside as one travels across unfamiliar territory as a tourist, few however can claim that the thought of trains strikes notions of drug trafficking, murder, and a romantic relationship in crisis. TRANSSIBERIAN, is a film that takes the joyous thoughts of adventure by rail and slowly turns it into the darkest of nightmares.

Couple Roy and Jessie (adeptly played by Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer), after finishing a stint of good Christian charity in China, decide to travel to Moscow via the Trans-Siberian railroad which crosses the snowbound desolate area of Siberia. In route they make friends with Carlos and Abby (Kate Mara and Eduardo Noriega), another couple who seem to live life traveling and who cause a sense of uneasiness in Jessie and provide an air of mystery for the viewer. The film unwinds slowly, letting the suspense simmer and only coming to full intensity towards the very end. While the story build up may seem to lag for some viewers accustomed to more action, it is superb in its character development as details of the characters past and their true persona are unraveled along the voyage.

The majority of the film is filled with situations that most who have traveled abroad have experienced; language barriers (and resulting confusion and frustration), missing a train, and taking the unbeaten path (with positive and negative results). TRANSSIBERIAN, takes those familiar experiences and uses them to build suspense at every turn. While there are some incidents towards the end of the film that may seem a bit farfetched, it is undoubtedly the believable familiar experiences that will engross the viewer and keep them wondering what could possibly happen next.

With a film set on a train and the notion of traveling abroad, one would expect some DVD extras with behind the scenes footage of the production or even fun interviews with the cast about their travel experiences, this DVD unfortunately has absolutely nothing to offer. I am not sure if the production company simply wanted to get the DVD released quickly or if the cast and director were too busy to contribute their time on extras. Needless to say that it is a bit disheartening to find nothing, considering the possibilities given the subject matter.

Considering it has a total lack of DVD extras you may want to hold off on spending your hard earned cash on buying TRANSSIBERIAN, though for fans of the suspense genre it is definitely worth a rental.

Reviewer’s Opinion: RENT IT!!

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