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Transsiberian (2008)

tomatometer

91

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 82
Fresh: 75 | Rotten: 7

Traditional in form yet effective in execution, this taut thriller updates the "danger on a train" scenario with atmospheric sense.

91

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 2

Traditional in form yet effective in execution, this taut thriller updates the "danger on a train" scenario with atmospheric sense.

audience

65

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 15,415

My Rating

Movie Info

Set on the legendary express train as it travels from China to Moscow, follows an American couple who board the train and make the acquaintance of a Russian police inspector on the trail of the killers of a drug dealer. The couple soon find themselves embroiled in a murderous plot with no escape.

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Will Conroy, Brad Anderson

Nov 4, 2008

$2.0M

First Look - Official Site External Icon

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Cast

Latest News on Transsiberian

January 4, 2012:
Joel Schumacher Exits The Hive
Brad Anderson ("Transsiberian") will direct instead.
January 13, 2009:
Nolan, del Toro, Stanton and More on Golden Tomatoes
Awards season is officially in full swing, with the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes already...

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All Critics (83) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (75) | Rotten (7) | DVD (12)

All in all, the film is an excellent, if modest, alternative for moviegoers who have been blockbustered into submission this summer.

November 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A thriller aboard the Trans-Siberian line, stretching roughly 5,000 miles from Beijing to Moscow, should be a cinch, right? Not so fast, Casey Jones.

November 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately, there's never a moment where you can't see Anderson and his co-writer, Will Conroy, yanking on the strings.

November 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Comment (1)
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director Brad Anderson throws in a red herring or two as he comments on Eurotrash and the greed-fueled lawlessness of the former Soviet Union, but he ultimately makes an even stronger statement about the dark side of female empowerment.

November 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As Alfred Hitchcock demonstrated three times, trains make a nifty setting for a thriller.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Transsiberian is a model of audience manipulation, a slow-fuse thriller that builds its suspense gradually, in increments, until it has becomes close to unbearable. Then it pushes things just a little further, until you're squirming in your seat.

August 29, 2008
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A terrific combination of action, mystery and adventure

June 27, 2014 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

All the actors get their tickets punched, and the screenplay doesn't insult anyone's intelligence.

February 15, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Mystery-train thriller chills, then goes off the rails.

December 31, 2010 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

Hitchcock would be proud of this trainbound suspense thriller with Woody Harrelson playing against type. A first-rate story, great action and great direction. Take the trip!

April 8, 2010 Full Review Source: CNNRadio
CNNRadio

The story itself takes a few bloodcurdling turns off the tracks, with well-played action sequences.

December 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Although it doesn't go as far as Strangers on a Train, TransSiberian is worth the ride.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

as Hitchcockian thrillers go, it's one of the smarter and more absorbing ones made in recent years

December 22, 2008 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

hearkens back to those glorious tales of intrigue and adventure that populated film screens in the 30s and 40s.

November 16, 2008 Full Review Source: Killer Movie Reviews
Killer Movie Reviews

Transsiberian is a deeply engrossing film from the get go. It sucked me in with a simple, yet often overlooked, idea - interesting characters.

November 4, 2008 Full Review Source: Movie Views

Transsiberian makes suspenseful and sometimes violent gestures, but it's all decoration.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Transsiberian is more than a rote thriller; it's also a sharp character study... actually, several studies in which the information about each character is slowly revealed and every scrap of knowledge further informs our understanding of the plot.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

It effectively keeps us in the dark as to where the story is eventually heading, allowing the film to deliver enough suspense to produce some serious hang-wringing.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Smart, unnerving, and sharp as an icicle to the eye, Transsiberian is the chilliest of midsummer thrillers.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: NPR.org
NPR.org

Can you say, "No good deed goes unpunished?"

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Anderson uses snowy locations to impose a chilly menace on the characters, and the script ratchets the tension at a sneakily measured pace.

September 26, 2008
Salt Lake Tribune

Audience Reviews for Transsiberian

I really like Brad Anderson, he's a guy who really understands film and doesn't reply on cheap tricks. Transsiberian is a brilliantly crafted film, its well written and beautifully directed. However, as much as I appreciated the time spent on character development, the 'eclectic' cast just doesn't work. I can think of a hundred better choices than Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer, even Ben Kingsley's performance was questionable. He can do scary too, he was terrifying in Sexy Beast, but never convincing (or scary) here. I don't think much of Kate Mara anyway, I suppose she was alright in this role but again, others could have done better. The cast is my only real gripe about the film, that and the over the top music and cliched Innocent American vs. evil non-American (attention all Americans, never leave America, it's not safe etc) but unfortunately these are big enough gripes for me to have not enjoyed it as much as I really wanted to.
January 23, 2013
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Grinko: In Russia, we have expression. "With lies, you may go ahead in the world, but you may never go back." Do you understand this, Jessie? 

"You can't escape your lies."

Transsiberian is a great thriller from Brad Anderson. He may be most remembered for The Machinist when all is said and done, but this may be his best film. Elements of some Hitchcock thrillers come into play in this railway thriller. The film starts out slow, building up with character development and the start of a new friendship. We don't really have a sense of what's going to happen next, but when something does happen, the film builds in intensity and tension. Everything Anderson was trying to accomplish with a slow start ends up working perfectly as the story comes full circle.

A married couple, Ray and Jesse, are traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway when they meet another couple. The four hit it off and become vacation buddies. When Jesse is left at one of the stops the other three get off to wait for him. That's when everything changes and the film becomes a thriller. When Ray and Jesse are reunited on the train, a new character comes into their lives. He is Grinko, a Russian detective. 

Besides beautiful landscape and a great thriller setting, Transsiberian is held up high by a great cast. Emily Mortimer and Ben Kingsley are the easy standouts, but Woody Harrelson, Kate Mara, and Eduardo Noriega give pretty good performances themselves. The two couples becoming friends sort of feels like the couples from A Perfect Getaway. The actors play their characters beautifully and really make it hard to get a sense of what will happen next. 

The movie doesn't really have anything holding it back. There's a good director, with a good cast and a good story. Add a nice score and beautiful cinematography into the equation and you're left with a highly involving and enjoyable film. If the movie has a problem, it's in how it is wrapped up. It's all a bit too optimistic in my opinion, but it doesn't take away from just how well made and executed the movie is. 
August 5, 2012
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

You can't escape your lies.

Good Film! This film is great watch with a solid narrative structure and with honest performances from all actors involved, hopefully you'll find Transsiberian a worthwhile watch as I did.

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?
July 23, 2012
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

This calm, increasingly menacing thriller tells the story of an US-American couple traveling from China to Moscow on the famous train, making the wrong kind of friends. While the picture this film paints of Russia and the Trans-Siberian express may not exactly be the most flattering, it comes across as realistic and makes for a very densely weaved atmosphere. Just when you think that your protagonists may not be likable or "good" enough to cheer for them, the spiral pulls you with it and you can't help but wonder what'll happen next. The fact that all characters here are grey and even the rather good people make questionable decisions may put off some viewers, but it makes the film a lot more realistic. The final third abandons that tendency in favor of the more generic thriller elements, but that doesn't make the film any less exciting. In the end it's even oddly satisfying. Recommended for fans of a slower, unusual and less preachy approach to crime and murder.
February 14, 2012
ironclad1609

Super Reviewer

    1. Roy: Yeah, a John Deer power mower!
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Grinko: In Russia, we have expression. "With lies, you may go ahead in the world, but you may never go back." Do you understand this, Jessie?
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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