6.7/10
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Transsiberian (2008)

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A Transsiberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers.

Director:

Brad Anderson
2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody Harrelson ... Roy
Emily Mortimer ... Jessie
Ben Kingsley ... Grinko
Kate Mara ... Abby
Eduardo Noriega ... Carlos Ximénez
Thomas Kretschmann ... Kolzak
Etienne Chicot ... Frenchman
Mac McDonald ... Minister
Colin Stinton ... Embassy Official
Perlis Vaisieta Perlis Vaisieta ... Manager Hotel Pushkin
Mindaugas Papinigis ... Young Detective
Mindaugas Capas ... Military Officer
Sonata Visockaite Sonata Visockaite ... Female Train Attendant #1
Larisa Kalpokaite Larisa Kalpokaite ... Female Train Attendant #2
Valentinas Krulikovskis Valentinas Krulikovskis ... Young Waiter
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Storyline

Americans abroad. Roy and Jessie finished a volunteer stint in China. He loves trains, so they go home via the Trans-Siberia Express. There are strains in the relationship, including her past. They meet Carlos, a Spaniard, traveling with Abby, a young American. Carlos keeps close to Jessie, and when Roy is left behind and waits a day for the next train so he can catch up, Jessie and Carlos take a trip into the dead of winter to photograph a ruined church. Carlos may be running drugs, so, later, when Roy catches up and introduces Jessie to his new pal, an English speaking Russian narcotics detective, he's the last person Jessie wants to see. Will the Siberian desolation be their undoing? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You can't escape your lies. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence, including torture and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | Spain | Lithuania

Language:

English | Russian | Spanish | Chinese | French

Release Date:

5 September 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Expresso Transiberiano See more »

Filming Locations:

China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,615, 20 July 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,203,641, 9 November 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital EX (as Dolby Digital Surround EX)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Among the references that Brad Anderson drew on were the movies North by Northwest (1959), Strangers on a Train (1951), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Runaway Train (1985), Dead Calm (1989), and the book "Crime and Punishment". See more »

Goofs

When Detective Grinko is scrolling through photos on the camera, the images are seen going BACK through time (this is logical - the photo view mode starts with the most recent photo and you scroll backwards to go back). We see the photos of the paintings in the church, then the eagle etc. However, he is pressing the RIGHT button - this would cause the photos to scroll forwards in time (to the right). He should be pressing the LEFT button in order for the camera to scroll backwards as it is shown. See more »

Quotes

passenger: [about the Gulag] If you want proof about America, you take a book. You want proof about Russia, take shovel. They're all buried here. Scientists, priests, poets. There is no God, and there is no Siberia.
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Alternate Versions

9 secs of cuts to shots of a knife being pressed into a leg wound were removed from the UK DVD release in order to achieve a 15 classification. Cuts were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy. An uncut 18 was available. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #7.126 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Count The Lights Of San Francisco
Written by Otto Sieben
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Character Driven Train Ride from Hell
1 September 2008 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

Brad Anderson is probably the best unknown director working today. He's the independent Christopher Nolan, often making character-driven, psychologically complex flicks that transcend the trappings of their respective genres. In the past he has successfully combined elements from time-travel thrillers and romantic comedies in 2000's "Happy Accidents", delivered a taut "Shining"-esque thriller in 2001's "Session 9" and then provided a stirring Hitchcock homage with 2004's "The Machinist" (which also featured a gonzo performance from Christian Bale). With "Transsiberian" Anderson attempts to breath life back into the often forgotten train-based thriller. Like those three earlier films, "Transsiberian" was made on the cheap, yet still manages to feature great camera-work and well known faces headlining the cast. In terms of the logistics of the location shooting in Lithuania (doubling as Siberia), this arrives as Anderson's most accomplished film from a technical standpoint.

The story starts off with an American couple (a goofy Woody Harrelson and a criminally underrated Emily Mortimer) returning from missionary work in China by route of the famous Transsiberian railroad. Once on board the train, they befriend a young couple (Kata Mara and Eduardo Noriega) who claim to be student-teachers returning from Japan but might be hiding something sinister. The screenplay does a good job of building up to "something" and developing the characters, especially Mortimer's Jessie, delving into her past with expository dialog that makes you care about where these characters are headed and think deeply about their motives. Without giving away too much of the film, entanglements ensue as a drug smuggling operation comes to light, and in steps Ben Kingsley (excellent as a Russian bruiser) as a narcotics detective with a special interest in the case.

There is a point, however, where (pardon the pun) the screenplay derails, and despite some unexpected twists, there never seems to be that big payoff. The film keeps the viewer on their toes with a bizarre turn of events at an abandoned church and a shockingly grim torture scene, but the psychological ramifications of these events are never probed as deeply as they could've been. The seductively cute Mortimer gives a nervy, complex, and excellent performance as Jessie, keeping the viewer invested in her character and what could happen to her even as the screenplay goes all over the map with her development. Woody Harrelson's performance is more of a conundrum as he seems to be playing a book-smart version of his moronic character from "Cheers". He makes you laugh during some of the more ridiculous scenes as the plot holes get deeper, and whether that was intentional or not to break the tension or gloss over the leaps of logic is never clear.

"Transsiberian" should please those looking for something different from your run-of-the-mill Hollywood thriller. Though the screenplay initially gives us characters that feel like real people, the mechanics of the convoluted plot spoil the potential of that development. However, the film still offers up an exotic locale, solid direction, and interesting performances, which makes it easy to recommend.


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