Monday, August 03, 2020

Movie Monday: Transsiberian

As usual these days, we were scouring Amazon and Netflix Saturday evening, looking for a movie to watch. My husband most enjoys thrillers (and I like them, too), and we lucked out last month with I See You, which was excellent and super-twisty. This week, he found a 2008 movie on Amazon Prime:  Transsiberian, about an action-packed train ride through Siberia, and we enjoyed the suspenseful story very much.

As the movie opens, Roy (played by Woody Harrelson), and his wife, Jessie (played by Emily Mortimer), have just finished up some volunteer work with their church in China and are boarding the Transsiberian Railroad for a trip to Russia, where they will tour Moscow before returning home to the U.S. Roy is a pure-bred, white-bread, All-American Midwesterner who loves trains, has childlike enthusiasm, and makes friends with everyone he meets. Jessie is quieter and has a more complicated past but loves Roy and enjoyed the volunteer work, her first time doing anything like that. They are paired up in their tiny train cabin with another couple. Carlos, played by Eduardo Ximenez, and Abby, played by Kate Mara, are clearly very different from Roy and Jessie, with Carlos' sly looks and teasing them about their clean passports and Abby's heavy make-up and quiet confidence. The two couples bond while traveling, but after Roy gets separated from the group, things begin to fall apart. Back on the train after a stop in a tiny Russian village, Roy and Jessie meet Detective Grinko, played by Ben Kingsley, who explains that he and his team are looking for dug smugglers, and the railroad is a common smuggling run. Things go a little off the rails at the point, if you'll pardon the pun, and the suspense builds, as the action and surprises ramp up.

The setting, including both the train itself and the vast, snowy Russian countryside, is a big part of this thriller and adds to its ominous tension. The cast are all excellent in their roles, driving us to IMDB, as usual, to see where we knew the two women from, and Harrelson is the perfect innocent Midwesterner. True to its thriller framework, the story is filled with unexpected twists and turns, and the tension builds as the quiet train ride turns deadly. We both enjoyed this movie very much.

Transsiberian is currently available on Amazon (included in Prime).

Here's the trailer; however, be forewarned that it contains some mild spoilers. This is the official trailer, so maybe they thought you'd figure these things out the first time you saw the characters. I did see the trailer first and still enjoyed the movie and had plenty of surprises in store.

If you prefer to go into a movie cold, skip the trailer and just know it's a suspenseful thriller, and give it a try!

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