Archives / 2008 Sundance Film Festival

Transsiberian

Director: Brad Anderson

Screenwriters: Brad Anderson, Will Conroy

Institute History

  • 2008 Sundance Film Festival

Description

Brad Anderson is a quintessentially independent film director known for his attention to character psychology and the details and nuance of place, traits that make the superbly crafted thriller Transsiberian an uncommonly absorbing experience. One of those legendary train trips that people used to dream about taking, the Transsiberian Express has probably seen better days. An American couple, Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer), decide to return home the long way from their recent sojourn in Peking and meet another couple from the West, Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Abby (Kate Mara), with whom they quickly form that tenuous bond that often unites fellow travelers away from home. When Roy gets separated from the train at a stopover, Jessie begins to realize that their compatriots aren’t exactly who or what they seem to be. But the real dangers of their unforgettable trip have only begun to surface; Russian cops (Ben Kingsley plays one), mobsters, and locals are still to come.

As much a psychological puzzle piece as artful suspense, the film showcases Anderson's newfound skill with dramatic action that meshes seamlessly with his engrossing atmosphere. Blessed with a engagingly subtle performance by the always-exemplary Mortimer and a surprisingly fresh turn by Harrelson, Transsiberian transports us into a new and different world and creates a unique cinematic experience.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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