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Transsiberian (Bluray) [Blu-ray]

Woody Harrelson , Emily Mortimer , Brad Anderson    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Passable thriller Nov. 30 2008
Format:DVD
Transsiberian is a thriller about a young american couple who take the siberian express train from China to Russia on a charitable mission. Their plans get sideswiped when they get tangled with a couple on the train who are not what they seem. All of a sudden, they are in the middle of a drug deal gone horribly wrong.

This is a fairly intelligent thriller, one that moves at a brisk pace, offers some nice shots of frozen winter locales. Most, but not all, of the action takes place aboard the train. The international flavour of this movie, along with solid performances, make this a passable thriller for fans of the genre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually intelligent modern thriller April 27 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
Smart, complex thriller that relies mostly on character and behavior, not easy shocks, for it's tension. That's increasingly rare in modern suspense films.

A few questionable twists near the end are the only real weak spots. Ben Kinglsey and Emily Mortimer are particularly terrific (though the whole cast is strong), it's great looking (especially on Blu-Ray, but the regular DVD isn't bad at all), and there's a moral grayness to the characters and story I found refreshingly adult and challenging.

A lot of critics thought the ending ruined the film, but to me it may have nicked it a bit, but it was far from a fatal wound for a far sharper than average, grown-up thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting mystery and 'making of' on blu-ray July 30 2010
By Cheryl TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
The snowy scenery and desolate locations (Lithuania for Siberia) make for an authentic backdrop to this interesting, moody mystery. The plot further unfolds as the well-acted central characters are slowly revealed, but it's well-paced and picks up, turning thriller more in the second half. Transsiberian looks good on blu-ray, and as bonus material there's a worthwhile "making of" featurette. I enjoyed the overall character development in this film, probably more due to the advantage of not reading spoilers ahead of time. (3 1/2 stars)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually intelligent modern thriller April 27 2011
By K. Gordon TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
Smart, complex thriller that relies mostly on character and behavior, not easy shocks, for it's tension. That's increasingly rare in modern suspense films.

A few questionable twists near the end are the only real weak spots. Ben Kinglsey and Emily Mortimer are particularly terrific (though the whole cast is strong), it's great looking (especially on Blu-Ray, but the regular DVD isn't bad at all), and there's a moral grayness to the characters and story I found refreshingly adult and challenging.

A lot of critics thought the ending ruined the film, but to me it may have nicked it a bit, but it was far from a fatal wound for a far sharper than average, grown-up thriller.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  103 reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A ride with menace and fear Dec 17 2008
By Nikolai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Don't worry: No spoilers. Transsiberian is an excellent thriller. A reviewer here aptly called it a neo-Hitchcockian film. A train ride in snowy Russia full of menace and suspense. As someone who has taken long train journeys in Russia, I can attest that the movie is quite good in transmitting their feel: from the vodka-lubricated friendly warmth of new acquaintances to the all too common hostile rudeness of train employees. And have no doubts about the suspense itself: the sense of dread and danger builds up gradually from almost nonexistent to just about unbearable. Emily Mortimer is superb as the central character. She has to exhibit a very wide range of emotions and she's absolutely convincing at all stages. Woody Harrelson is cast as Mortimer's husband. He is very credible as a friendly and rather naive Iowan who hasn't done much travel outside the US. He's also a train enthusiast--one of the reasons he's so thrilled about the Transsiberian. His wife is a woman with a wild past who turned her life around after meeting her husband, a committed Christian. They have to share their cabin with a young couple: Kate Mara, a young American, and Eduardo Noriega, a handsome Spaniard. Mortimer and Harrelson soon discover that their younger cabin mates are much better traveled than they are. Although they are friendly, Mortimer senses some mystery in the story of their companions. The last among the main characters is another train passenger, an English-speaking Russian narcotics detective played by Ben Kingsley. As it is often the case, Kingsley's character is both intelligent and intense. If you like suspense films, don't miss this one.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brad Anderson scores with this intense thriller! Sept. 23 2008
By Movie Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I saw this movie in Los Angeles and was plesently surprised. This movie had me glued to my seat until the credits rolled. Anderson clearly has created a mystery masterpiece telling the story of a clueless couple, Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer, stuck on a cross country train ride through the grim backdrop of a post-soviet Russia. The two are caught in a whirlwind of drug-smuggling, torture and crooked cops. I haven't been this impressed with a movie for a long time and can't wait to buy this sucker on DVD disc!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing thriller from Anderson, major spoilers ahead Dec 20 2010
By fra7299 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
** Spoilers ahead

For the most part, Transsiberian works as a suspense/thriller and captures the uncomfortable feeling of being a foreigner in another land. The director Brad Anderson does a commendable job setting up the relationship between the couple, their struggles, and their vastly different personalities. He also sets the stage for quite a finish, but the viewer will have to decide how well this is pulled off. I loved the scenery and much of the dialogue was satisfactory throughout. A slow, definitive build up to the main conflict is sorely lacking in contemporary films, but Transsiberian captures this. The basic premise is that an American couple, Roy and Jessie are (Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer) taking a trip home from China on the Trans-Siberian Express become involved in a plot involving an investigation of drug possession and an accidental murder. When Roy and Jessie happen to meet and share a cabin with another couple (Carlos, Abby) from the West, events begin to pick up, and the intrigue begins. The seemingly well-meaning couple has other plans and, after a mix-up where Roy and Jessie become separated, it sheds a bit of light on what is going on. Later, a Russian police officer (Sir Ben Kingsley) takes over the investigation, but his true intentions are a bit shady.

While most of the film was solid, there were some aspects of the film that irked me. For one, being that Jessie (Mortimer) was the strongest character, I found it appalling and puzzling how she could not and would not tell the truth at ANY costs (which included possibly having her husband shot to death and one of the characters who she befriended, Abby, tortured). Not only that, but she has no qualms about going "out in the middle of nowhere" with a mysterious man at the same time her husband is missing. Was this just a major character flaw for her, or what was the deal? It seemed a little inconsistent with who she is. You would think that she might finally see the light, but no, it never happens. Another point that seemed a little inconsistent or baffling was when Roy and Jessie basically flee their captors but leave Abby, after being tortured and beaten and pleading for help, to the wolves. Were these the same good people who were doing missionary work in China? The last part of the film, the unraveling of events, kind of fell flat, and seemed to "sell out" a little, going Hollywood, and having the typical good guy/ bad guy struggle scenario play out. It didn't really live up to the carefully crafted suspense in the first part. Also, there were questions that were not fully explored. (i. e. Why did Roy miss his train? ). It didn't compare to the first part of the film that took time to build up suspense, and give some intrigue to the tale.

Still, Transsiberian works on many levels. The tension when Kingsley's character is questioning Jessie about the missing man really adds to the mood and confusion of the naďve American couple. In short, this is an above-average suspense with mostly solid performances and an intriguing plot. This film does have a "feel" of Hitchcock to it at times, but it's best to leave the comparisons at the door.
46 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Casting and Characters but Weak Plot Derails this Transsiberian Express Aug. 29 2008
By Doug Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This one grabbed my attention when I read about it in the New York Times last month. The article made it sound like it might rival Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train or Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. Well it doesn't. Not even close. Granted it does feature exotic Transsiberian locales from Beijing to Moscow, a train ride full of mystery and suspense, and the work of a set of top-notch actors. Unfortunately, everything that is attractive about this film is derailed by a script that takes one too many unlikely plot turns. So, instead of getting a suspense filled Strangers on a Train or an elegantly paced Murder on the Orient Express, we get just another Hostel or Turistas.

In the beginning there is the thrill that one is about to embark on an exotic journey into an area for the most part uncharted by Hollywood (Siberia), and the film does deliver a few glimpses of China and Russia that entice the eye. And, at first anyway, the characters and their relationships are intriguing enough to grab and hold our attention. Woody Harrelson is always good and here he delivers a fairly convincing performance as "Roy", a christian volunteer doing work with needy children in China. Roy is the typical bleary-eyed American optimist blissfully unaware of his own naivete. The fact that he wears Woodrow Wilson styled bifocals nicely underscores his limited vision of the world. This isn't Oscar stuff by any stretch but naivete is Woody's forte and since this character truly is caring and compassionate and sees only the best in other people he's actually quite likable. Since everyone else in this film is slightly jaded and gaurded and hiding a sketchy past, Roy's optimism and openness and childlike enthusiasm for trains is actually quite refreshing. His openness is at times an asset (he is a people magnet), at other times a liability (his naivete and over-the-top Americanness make him an easy target at home and abroad).

Accompanying Roy on this volunteer trip to China is his wife Jessie (played by the immensely talented and infinitely watchable Emily Mortimer whose previous film appearances include: Match Point, Lars and the Real Girl & Lovely and Amazing). Jessie is an odd match for Roy. She has experienced more of the world than he has and her adventurous, and perhaps dark, past is something that she keeps to herself. That is until Roy and Jessie board the Transsiberian Express and meet fellow travelers Carlos (Eduardo Noriega, best known for his work in the Spanish film Open Your Eyes) and Abby (Kate Mara). Carlos and Abby are seasoned travelers who look like they have seen a lot of the world, and not just the stuff that's in the Lonely Planet travel guide. Though well traveled, they are younger than Roy and Jessie and still full of wanderlust for the world and each other. Being around them reawakens Jessie's own still simmering wanderlust. Reckless and impulsive Carlos awakens her sense of danger and her sensuality (which have remained for the most part dormant during her time with Roy); and unrooted and uncertain Abby reminds her of her own younger and riskier, and as yet unmapped, self. Abby represents that side of herself that Jessie misses but also fears so she feels threatened by but also protective of Abby who is traveling down a lot of the same paths and traveling down them for many of the same reasons that Jessie formerly did. Abby's attraction to Carlos reminds Jessie of her own attractions to such men when she was that age and therefore she has conflicting feelings for Carlos: her younger self wants him, her older self wants him out of the picture. The fact that Jessie has a past and an understanding of many different types of existence makes her an excellent observer of human nature and as a result she takes wonderful pictures. But this avocation, like her relationship with Roy, is also a safe one. It allows her to indulge her interest in the disordered variety of life that she is attracted to but also to maintain a responsible and respectable distance from that world. However, her pictures also provide clues to an undeniable truth about Jessie. In the most memorable scene of the film a detective handles her camera and begins to scan through her photos while she nervously watches knowing the difference between culpability and liberty is only one delete button away. Mortimer does an exceptional job with the role. This character is full of surprises, including self-surprise, every step of the way.

The film could have worked well had it confined itself to developing the personal histories and tracing the evolving relationship dynamics and life trajectories of these four characters as they travel together in close quarters on an exotic train passing through one snowy Siberian locale after another. Instead, the film decides to take a different route and heads off into the usual Hollywood thriller terrain: drug smuggling, torture, murder, trainjacking & smashing etc... In other words, at about the halfway point, the film foregoes character study (and subtlety), and becomes your usual lurid, predictable, and forgettable summer flick.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take the T Train Dec 16 2008
By Judy K. Polhemus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
The Trans-Siberian Train crosses a snowy, frozen landscape in this former Soviet country. During a drunken let's-show-our-scars when an old man shows his tattoo, it is one denoting the Gulag, a reminder of the brutality of the Soviet empire. Let no one forget. This tiny foreshadowing, revealed so subtly, is a chilling nod to a perverse, corrupt regime and, for the viewer, sets the tone for the things to come on this train ride.

Woody Harrelson plays Roy, a naif Christian completing a mission trip in China and a long-time train buff who wants to take the Transsiberian for the ride of a lifetime. His wife Jessie (Emily Mortimer) does not mind going with him. Their cabin mates (yikes, cabin mates!), especially Carlos, a Spaniard, oozes mystery and a vague hint of corruption, while his companion Abby, a younger American, exhibits a secretive demeanor. Good guy Roy, a hail-fellow, well-met, makes friends with everyone in the dining car that night, at which time the Gulag experience is outed.

This is Emily Mortimer's movie, which allows her keen talent of facial nuances to dominate. She has a bad girl past and feels real appreciation to Roy for turning her life around. He know her secrets. Sometimes one's past is tested by a turn of events. This turn occurs when Roy intentionally does not get back on the Transsiberian during a short stop. Jessie is left on her own in this vast frozen wasteland and commits a life-changing act.

When they do get back together, Jessie has a secret she does not share with Roy. This secret has wider and wider repercussions, causing greater and greater danger for them. Ben Kingsley, who won an Academy Award for playing the non-violent Gandhi, again shows his chops in this role of a Russian narcotics agent, entering the life of Roy and Jessie.

Carl Jung once described white as "the inscrutable cosmic mystery." Snowstorms, polar bears, icebergs. The frozen and snowy Siberian landscape is like that. What takes place there (in this film) is like that. What makes people commit atrocities is like that.

This is a film worth watching, especially for the acting, for the secrets revealed, for seeing bad boy Woody Harrelson as the only character who is not part of this inscrutable cosmic mystery until he must save them. It is worth seeing Ben Kingsley demonstrate a fascinating character study. But most of all "Transsiberian" is a fine vehicle for the amazing acting of Emily Mortimer, whose character resonates and rebounds from a sobering Siberian experience.
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