Sunday, August 24, 2008

You go ahead and ride the Trassiberian. I'm staying home.

First Look Studios' Transsiberian

In Trassiberian an American couple, Roy and Jessie (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer), decide to take the long way home from their recent sojourn in Asia on the legendary Trans-siberian Express train from Beijing to Moscow. On their way, they meet another couple from the West, Carlos and Abby (Eduadro Noriega and Kate Mara), with whom they quickly form a familiar bond that often unites fellow travellers away from home. When Roy accidentally gets separated from the group at a stopover, Jessie begins to realize that their compatriots aren't exactly who or what they seem to be. The real danger begins to surface as a deceitful Russian detective (Ben Kingsley) and locals terrorize Jessie in this unforgettable journey.

The train ride from hell? Pretty darn close. It starts off nicely enough. A lovely 8 day trip on the Transsiberian Express from Beijing to Moscow sounds like a great idea, right? It sounded good to Roy and Jessie. They
are going through a rocky patch, decide to give their relationship one last go and have another adventure together, traveling on the Transsiberian from China to Moscow through exotic, wild and snow-laden places. On the train, Roy and Jessie discover that the days of the Transsiberian's glorious luxury have faded since the fall of the U.S.S.R. The famous train's former glamor has disappeared, leaving cold steel carriages and taciturn fellow passengers, reputed to include drug traffickers. They take refuge in the company of a fellow western couple who arrive in their shared compartment, Carlos and Abby, who travel throughout the world giving language classes and re-selling handcraft, such as, on this occasion, Russian Matryoshka dolls. Everything is going well until the four decide to get off the train at one stop. The guys go one way and the girls go another. Roy then gets separated from the rest of the group and the train carries on with the other three already back on board ( this is really intense because for awhile we think that something has happened to Roy while out with the shady Carlos). Jessie, by now extremely worried, has no other option but to get off at the next station and wait until Roy comes on the following train. Abby and Carlos offer to wait with her. However, while they wait for him, Carlos tries to take advantage of Jessie and, in trying to defend herself, she ends up accidentally killing him. Terrified, she left the corpse in the snow. She then returns to the station, where Roy has finally arrived. Back together at last, Jessie tries to forget about what has happened. But the nightmare is only just beginning. She soon discovers that Carlos was in fact a drug dealer who was being pursued by corrupt police officers, and they are now chasing her because during one of his little flirtations he places the Russian Matryoshka dolls in with her luggage. By now Agent Grinko has caught on to them after he figures out that Jessie has a hard time keeping her story straight. After being tortured a little bit for information they get away and make their way back to the train, which Roy controls. Unwittingly, Roy and Jessie get caught up in the dark world of smuggling and betrayal. And they know that while the train is in motion, there is no means of escape! Soon all is revealed on this runaway train in the end Roy and Jessie are never truly the same again. I really enjoyed this one with powerful performances from Harrelson, Mortimer, and Kingsley (in his best performance this year), this one keeps you on your toes even after the slow start, but once it gets going it's like a speeding train. This is a definite must see. A smart 4 on my "Go See" scale.

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