This intense film vacillates with mixed results between personal drama and pushing your face into the hellish task of being parents. Although a good actor and still with a great body, Signourney Weaver is too old for the role. She also seems too intelligent for the chaos that seems to control her life. After she is imprisoned, hints are dropped that there is something deeper and darker about her than we know about. This turns out to be a red herring and an unsatisfying one at that. One gets the same feeling about Chloe Sevigny's character -- that there's something else about her we need to see, but the filmmakers can't figure out how to show it. Well constructed individual scenes and committed acting make this film watchable, but, in the end, oddly unfulfilling.
This film pops up frequently on the tube, and with good reason -- it's lean, smart, and superbly acted. Director Hyams makes the most of the claustrophobic train interior contrasting with the wide open Canadian wilderness. Gene Hackman has never been better. Tension is built through a series of one-on-one confrontations, each with electric undercurrents. The best by far is the gentlemanly chat between Hackman and James Sikking in the dining car. The standard "action-packed" ending is a bit disappointing. But don't let this stop you if you're into suspense films for the thinking person.