EMILY MORTIMER IN TRANSSIBERIAN
Interview: Emily Mortimer on 'Transsiberian' (cinematical.com)
Emily Mortimer, 36, first popped onto the radar as Hugh Grant's only decent bind date in Notting Hill (1999). She couldn't compare with movie star Julia Roberts, but she had a cute, unassuming quality; she could grow on you. And she grew on moviegoers throughout the rest of the decade, in Wes Craven's Scream 3 (2000), Kenneth Branagh's Love's Labour's Lost (2000), Stephen Fry's Bright Young Things(2003), Woody Allen's Match Point (2005) and David Mamet's recent Redbelt, as well as switch-hitting between oddities like The Pink Panther and Lars and the Real Girl. If she once had a sweet, shy quality, she eventually shattered it by appearing naked -- and hugely vulnerable -- in Nicole Holofcener's Lovely & Amazing and brandishing a big gun and an even bigger attitude in Ronny Yu's Formula 51. Her role in Brad Anderson's new thriller Transsiberian -- co-starring Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley -- draws on all that experience.
Movies in Brief: 'Transsiberian' (New York Sun)
Director Brad Anderson's “Transsiberian” is a throwback to railroad thrillers that were a staple of Hollywood's Golden Age. Even the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, made a number of such films. But the concept ran out of steam in the second half of the 20th century, when interstate highways and air travel became more popular than the rails. Given that the notion of a fast-paced thriller based on Amtrak is absurd, the genre needs something such as the treacherous network of railways connecting Beijing and Moscow to give it modern-day relevance.
A Little Chat with Transsiberian Star Emily Mortimer (iVillage.com)
Ever have the experience of seeing a movie and enjoying one actor or actress' performance so much that you decide then and there you will, going forward, see any movie they're in, simply because they're in it? That's me after watching Transsiberian, the new crime thriller that has me permanently ensconced in Camp Emily Mortimer. The movie, which debuted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and will open in limited release on July 18, is a smart, action-packed gem that follows Jessie (Mortimer) and her naïve husband Roy (Woody Harrelson) as they decide to take a trip on the titular Russian train.
It's snow country for clueless Yanks in 'Transsiberian' (New York Daily News)
“We're Americans!” cries Woody Harrelson's hapless tourist in “Transsiberian,” a tense little thriller from Brad Anderson. He says it as if they're magic words that can protect him from anything, but they count for very little in this overseas setting. Then again, while the movie's Americans are guilty of clueless self-satisfaction, their enemies come off even worse. Brimming with Cold War-era paranoia, “Transsiberian,” sees Russia as an outlaw nation, where no one is to be trusted and disaster hovers overhead.
The long sidelined subgenre centered on mysterious doings aboard exotic trains is put back on the tracks in “Transsiberian,” an engagingly up-to-date melodrama steeped in local color and steered by a treacherous sense of morality. Stalwart indie helmer Brad Anderson spreads his wings considerably here by moving further into action and genre territory than he ever has before with a film that will likely achieve more theatrical traction internationally than in the U.S. but looks promising everywhere at tube and home viewing destinations down the line....Usually seen in appealing if limited secondary leads, Emily Mortimer is blessed with the only fully developed character here and runs with it in a very flavorful performance as a reformed bad girl presented with a whopping opportunity to backslide.
Thriller Right On Track (New York Post)
An atmospheric, Hitchcockian thriller set aboard a famed train route, Brad Anderson's “Transsiberian” is a genuine sleeper that jump-starts an almost extinct genre. A restrained Woody Harrelson plays Roy, a good-natured American rail buff who has just completed a church-sponsored mission with his wife, Jessie (Emily Mortimer). They embark on a weeklong train trip from Beijing to Moscow, where they plan to do some sightseeing before heading home to Iowa.
Who doesn't have a sweet tooth for intrigue on a train? Hercule Poirot grilling dining-car dandies in Murder on the Orient Express? Steven Seagal snapping necks in Under Siege 2? There's something about a claustrophobic tube whistling at breakneck speed that makes mayhem go down smooth. So 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. Transsiberian director Brad Anderson, whose résumé includes underseen gems like 2000's Happy Accidents, certainly has fun with the exotic setting — a moving freak show of pear-shaped babushkas and burly men tossing back vodka shots. But his main characters could use more spice. Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer play an American couple returning from a charity mission in China who are later joined in their cramped compartment by Carlos and Abby, a pair of backpackers who may or may not be heroin mules.
Running away just isn't Emily's style
Emily Mortimer, whose blossoming Hollywood career Pandora has been monitoring closely, is fast discovering that movies can be a brutally honest business. Mortimer, who has landed her first action role alongside Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley in the new thriller Transsiberian, has revealed some of her scenes had to be heavily edited by the film's director Brad Anderson. “They told me I'm not actually that convincing when I'm running,” she says. “Brad tells me that he really had to edit the hell out of the scene with me running away in the snow, because I look so bad.” Mortimer, it seems, has been teased about her running action all her life. “In fact, my friends will make me run for a bus to give themselves a cheap laugh,” she adds. “So I really do have to be edited a bit to be a convincing action heroine.”
Intrigue on an Ill-Fated Train, Moscow-Bound (New York Times)
“Transsiberian” is a handsomely remodeled variation of a cherished genre you might call the mystery-train movie. Updated by the director Brad Anderson, who wrote the screenplay with Will Conroy, it skillfully manipulates familiar tropes: innocents abroad, ominous glowering foreigners, conspiracy and duplicity, erotic intrigue. Until it fizzles in an anticlimactic train crash, it is extremely entertaining. ...Roy (Woody Harrelson) is a chirping parody of the gregarious American abroad. Jessie (Emily Mortimer), an amateur photographer, is a reformed bad girl with a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Roy met her when she had hit rock bottom and stood by her during her recovery. She still clings to a cigarette habit. While Roy longs for children, Jessie wants to put off having a family. For all her surface primness, underneath she is a reckless adventurer. When faced with sexual temptation, she muses darkly, “I sure wish I’d met you back in the day.” That they break the mold of the picture-perfect all-American couple facing danger as a cozy unit injects the genre with a bracing psychological complexity. In a compelling performance, Ms. Mortimer takes her complicated character and runs with it.
Transsiberian Review (ugo.com)
There are movies about men battling monsters, movies about men pursuing treasures ... and then there are movies that drop a bunch of twisted characters into a bag, shake, and see what falls out. That's the thriller Transsiberian. Missionaries Roy and Jessie (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) are riding the railroad from Beijing to Moscow. He's a garrulous train nut in corn-fed Woody Boyd mode; she's a former bad girl who's found the path of righteousness through the love of a good man. Their snowy Siberian vacation is turned on its head with the appearance of their cabinmates, Carlos and Abby (Eduardo Noriega and Kate Mara).
Brad Anderson's Transsiberian (Village Voice)
Though not one for literal smoke and mirrors, master of horror Brad Anderson, with his panache for arousing fear from harried reality and rotted atmosphere, is still a shaman. In his latest spooker, Anderson locates dread not just inside his characters' psyches but also in the lines across a babushka's face, the insides of a matryoshka doll, and Ben Kingsley's ushanka. The setting this time is the wintriest wasteland of Siberia, through which a train lumbers toward Moscow from China with a bobble-headed Christian dweeb (Woody Harrelson) and his wife Jessie (Emily Mortimer) on board, plus a lascivious Spaniard (Eduardo Noriega), a fishy narcotics officer (Kingsley), and a half-dozen other easily excitable foreigners seemingly pulled from Eli Roth's go-to central casting.
Depending on your level of anticipation and curiosity, this is a film that can generate several reactions. Folks can come away riveted as there are several twists to the narrative often giving viewers something more to think about on a multitude of emotional levels. However, you can also come away frustrated depending on how deeply you engage yourself with the logic of it all. I came away just shy of disappointed as the film never really jumped off the screen, but kept me asking questions the whole way. Oftentimes these questions were logical, which accounts for my disappointment, but the occasional moral dilemma made it mildly interesting.
Transsiberian: Spooky But Irritating (buzzsugar.com)
The most debilitating aspect of “Transsiberian,” is the set of characters. At every turn Jesse does something (or doesn't do something — how hard is it to discreetly drop a bag in a trash bin in a public space where nobody is paying attention to you? Come on!) that is so inane, so illogical, there's no response but to throw your hands up in the air and curse under your breath. Indeed, this is the kind of film that was fun to watch with a few friends — but only because we could yell at the screen together out of bafflement and frustration. Though she admirably puts her all into it, even Mortimer can't elevate the quality of this character. And then there's Woody Harrelson, who brings the stock character of dumb American buffoon to preposterous levels. He could have easily taken the blithe ignorance down a notch and we would have still gotten the picture. As it was, his character was so incredibly stupid at times, I wondered if there were something wrong with him, mentally. In the end, you can have a spooky setting, but characters really matter, too, and if we don't root for, care about or even remotely like any of them, it's hard to find the film worthwhile.