Film Review – Transsiberian
In Transsiberian, Woody Harrelson and his wife (Emily Mortimer) are leaving a missions trip in China and taking the Transsiberian express train across China and Russia to see the countryside, such as it is. The couple gets another couple as cabinmates who are a bit creepy.
The creepy girl, from Seattle oddly enough, is clearly alarmed when her boyfriend hands over his well-used passport while comparing them to Woody’s. Woody is playing a country bumpkin from Iowa and sadly, isn’t nearly as endearing as he was from Cheers. And actually, Woody is pretty unconvincing as an actor in this film, which isn’t a surprise to anyone who has seen him act since Cheers.
The cabinmate Carlos and Emily appear to be getting quite close on the trip and the Seattle girlfriend begins to get suspicious. But the girlfriend still manages to crack the surface of Emily by asking about her past. Apparently, Emily has a criminal and drug- and alcohol-filled past. Woody confides in Carlos that they are having marital problems – basically that she doesn’t want kids and such. Woody disappears and Emily thinks he’s been left at the previous train station.
The trio spends the night in a small town to wait for the next train with Woody on it. Carlos is obviously making moves on Emily and she’s not exactly shutting him down. Carlos leads Emily out into the woods where there are no witnesses and things start to get creepy. Carlos makes a serious and angry move on Emily and she smacks him in the head a couple of times with a branch and kills him and leaves him in the snow.
She heads back to wait for Woody and doesn’t tell anyone she left the body in the woods. After she’s reunited with Woody, they hop back on the train and their new cabinmate is Ben Kingsley – a Russian police officer. Strangely, Carlos has filled Emily’s bag with drug-filled Russian dolls and Emily is trying to off-load them at every opportunity. It’s not going well, especially under the watchful eye of the police detective. As the detective gets more suspicious, he begins interrogating the couple in an increasingly aggressive manner. It gets brutal.
I won’t ruin the ending of this one, but it gets a little convoluted towards the end. The film isn’t a bad one, though it does take a while to get rolling and is a bit drawn out. I kept watching the clock and hoping it would be over soon. The acting by everyone except Woody is decent, and there are some intense moments followed by some lulls. The story is bit unbelievable, though that’s nothing new I Hollywood (or Russia, maybe). The music seemed appropriate except for when Woody was on screen, then sometimes it got hokey, like the music people were insulting him subtly. Hilarious. The film is supposed to be some sort of travel adventure murder mystery, but is a weak attempt at suspense. Then again, it’s Woody Harrelson and he’s hard to believe in a lot of films. I’m not sure I’d recommend this to a lot of people. It was watchable, but not really that likable.
(2 out of 5 fus)