Thursday, April 24, 2008

Movie Review: Transsiberian

The Independent Film Festival of Boston started last night with a showing of Transsiberian. I'll be seeing a lot of films at the festival and will try to get reviews out as fast as I can.

Ray (Woody Harrelson) and Jesse (Emily Mortimer) are a couple traveling on the Transsiberian Express railway from Beijing to Moscow. He's a straight-laced hardware store owner who's active in his church. She has a more shady past but has changed. On the train they share a compartment with Carlos (Spanish actor Eduardo Noriega) and Abby (Kate Mara) who have been bumming around Asia. Sir Ben Kingsley plays Inspector Grinko, a Russian narcotics detective trying to track down drug traffickers.

The film is a thriller and it's hard to discuss without giving away plot points which I won't do. It's kind of a cross between Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes and Cronenberg's Eastern Promises but that is stretching it a bit. I will say that there were several things I saw coming that arrived and several things I saw coming that never did and a few things (some big) that I didn't see coming that really surprised me when they arrived. This combination really worked to keep me guessing, but I there were parts where I wasn't in suspense, I was just waiting for things to happen.

The film rests on Emily Mortimer and she succeeds in keeping us interested. She plays an all too trusting girl-next-door type who has to deal with building suspicion and fear. I found Woody Harrelson a bit annoying, but I think he was supposed to be the naive American. Fortunately the film concentrates on Mortimer and he mostly provides some comic relief.

I liked Kingsley as the Russian detective a lot, but I suspect a couple of my regular readers will complain about his accent. I had no problems with it. After the film was a question and answer session with the director (Brad Anderson), co-writer Will Conroy, and Sir Ben Kingsley. Here are some photos. Kingsley said he's a natural mimic and Anderson said the Russian coaches were very impressed with his accent. The film is a solid B+. A couple of my other regular readers are train nuts and I think they'll enjoy it too.

1 comment:

Minas said...

As far I've read about this movie and watched trailers then I'm expecting a good movie.