Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Transsiberian (2009) ***½

R, 111min.
Director: Brad Anderson
Writers: Brad Anderson, Will Conroy
Starring: Emily Mortimer, Woody Harrelson, Ben Kingsley, Eduardo Noriega, Kate Mara, Thomas Kretschmann

Sometimes it’s the small films that seem big. “Transsiberian” was some international conglomeration production that probably couldn’t find funding in the States for some reason. I don’t think it’s because the film doesn’t have a commercial plot. It very much does.

A married American couple takes a trip on the Trans Siberian Railway after their participation in a charity trip to China. They meet another couple on the train. The second couple is younger, seeming to live a life of freedom moving about internationally, untethered. They befriend each other and when the American man fails to turn up on the train, the younger couple volunteers to wait with his wife at the next station. But did the husband miss the train, or did something sinister happen to him? What does all this have to do with a Russian drug trafficking officer?

This is a classic thriller. It builds slowly and allows the audience to do some of its misdirectional thinking. The American couple hasn’t been as honest with each other as they’ve thought. The plot develops in an unpredictable manner, and it all makes for a rather thrilling situation for the audience. Will this couple be caught in their lies? Will their deception of each other blow up in their faces, and just who are these other two people that have altered their lives in such a way that nothing they’ve experienced can prepare them to rectify?

“Transsiberian” is the type of movie that streaming services like Netflix Instant work in great favor for. It’s a movie that would’ve come and gone from theaters without most people even being aware of it, but it is a crowd pleaser. It’s as good as any Bourne movie, and better than most of the movies that dominate the local metroplex.

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