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
When Emily Mortimer was approached about appearing in the film, she had only 24 hours to make a decision on the script. Not being familiar with Brad Anderson's previous works, she said yes immediately after reading the script. See more »
The Trans-Siberian railway west of Irkutsk is portrayed as non-electrified single-track, when in fact it is double-track and fully electrified. See more »
[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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It is amazing that one can now associate Siberia with one of the best movies of 2008, a film that is put together adroitly, flows delicately with the help of a tight script that touches on topics we have seen before in dozens of movies but gives it a fresh spin, and the end result is a movie that recalls some of the best work Hitchcock could have made, a piece where innocent folks are suddenly snared by dark forces. In the end, their fate is pretty much left to destiny.
Doing some very good work, Emily Mortimer and Woody Harrelson play the unsuspecting couple who see their adventure turn sour as they run into a couple of young people who might be or not be who they say they are. Before the audience can start wandering what's going on, things become uglier and more twisted that we expected.
Mortimer's role is one of the best female roles in years, a woman with a complex past that returns to haunt her as she confronts very dangerous choices during the ride through Siberia. It is amazing to see her transformation from a bored housewife to a woman who starts questioning the consequences of her actions and how easily she can sink into madness.
In order to make the tension effective, there is a cop who comes in to question our heroes and help them get out of their ordeal. With the persona created by Ben Kingsley, one wonders exactly what makes this character tick, there is an air of mystery, of knowledge that can be effective and dangerous, if obtained by the wrong people. The one word that comes to mind as interrogations begin is who can be trusted? The film moves with elegance rarely seen in contemporary cinema, one can recalls the classic work of Hitchcock in much of this piece, and there is definitely references to the fluid camera-work seen in Spanish films like "The Others", a movie that delivered by relying on the presentation of images and evoking moods that a simple dialogue couldn't.
This is a fine film, a movie that tells an old tale in a refreshing way, a presentation that satisfies the viewer because it engages the audience with its dramatic power. One is likely to want to see it again to clarify a few points and also to enjoy it again and again.
It is almost a perfect film.
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