From the Beijing Train Station to the corrupt police on the far Eastern route of the Russian Trans-Siberian Railroad, the 2008 movie Transsiberian was enjoyable to watch having dealt with many of the same problems…ok minus the kidnapping part. Not so much for the plot as for the accuracy the movie portrayed when depicting a couples ride on a Chinese train and problems with Russian police. Although we did not go on the Trans-Siberian…yet, the movie was thrilling to watch as an American couple from Iowa, Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer, left the Beijing Zhan (station) headed for Moscow via a 6 day journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The train-station, gray colored everything, sleeper cars, and food carriages, were right on and I would believe it was filmed on location.
Emily Mortimer’s character was always planning a new route or travel adventure and walked around with a Cannon Digital camera around her neck throughout the whole film – which reminded me a lot of Lauren. The broken sleeper-car knobs that wouldn’t turn off terrible Russian music, the shared cars with strangers, the rude and short tempered train attendants, drug smugglers, and corrupt cops were a direct parallel to our experiences en route from China through Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan. Although the plot got extremely more creepy in comparison to the things that happened to Lauren and I, if you have traveled throughout the former Soviet Union, Russia, China by train, or are interested to see what it looks like, I think people would find certain aspects of this couple’s travel accurate.
Going through Kazakhstan we were hiding from the police as their boarded our train trying to avoid paying bribes, watching all the drug smugglers hide taped packages to their stomachs or under their beds, and arguing with the grumpy train attendants. Our train travel in China was pretty easy going and we had no problems, but the movie gave a good atmosphere to some of the fears you develop as you go into less safe areas ruled by corrupt cops and officials.
For a more detailed clip go to: Transsiberian Part I – watch from 4:10 to about 9:00 to see a little bit of what it was like.