BBC1: Wednesday 19 August, 11.35pm
Taking the train from Beijing to Moscow, church-going American couple Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer share a compartment with Vladivostok cop Ben Kingsley. “If you want to know the truth about America, read a book,” Kingsley tells the born-again pair from Iowa. “If you want to know the truth about Russia, bring a shovel.” The characters are hard to read in Brad Anderson’s beautifully framed thriller, and it’s not at all clear from which direction the danger’s coming. In this commerce-crazy, drug-running new Asia, it’s certainly not apparent who the good guys are. “When it was the USSR, we lived in the darkness,” says Kingsley. “Now we are dying in the light.” He’s quite the philosopher, Kingsley’s cop: “With lies you may go forward in the world,” he warns Mortimer, “but you may never go back.” Like Anderson’s Session 9, this is ominous and creepy stuff. Not quite as exceptional as Session 9, though. More on a par with Anderson’s solid and intriguing The Machinist, and his recent psycho-thriller The Call.