Siberia (2018)

                   Next time look this closely at the script

SIBERIA froze into a sub-zero 301st place in 2018, and along with underpopulated theaters it suffered a blizzard of bad reviews. Starring and co-produced by Keanu Reeves, it’s more a misfire than a fiasco, the assorted elements of crime thriller (not hot enough), romance (heated but unlikely) and redemptive odyssey/adventure (restrained) not jelling into a coherent, convincing or exciting whole.

An American gem dealer sells rare blue diamonds to a gangster in St. Petersburg, Russia. Though ‘Lucas Hill’ (Reeves: what’s with the lame beard, dude?) has pulled shady deals before and speaks Russian (and Afrikaans—South African crooks are involved as well) he’s up the Volga without sufficient Stoli when his partner betrays him. Cardinal Mistake Time arrives after Lucas falls into a passionate fling with cafe owner ‘Katya’ (Ana Ularu) in the hinterland burg of Mirny. Forget the death threat: it’s a Go for a half-dozen rutting displays feverish love scenes.

         Bring on the animalistic grapples

Reeves is fine (apart from choosing such a trendy/sloppy look), Ularu is compelling and enticing, and Pasha D. Lychnikoff excels as villain ‘Boris Volkov’.  But they’re stuck with a poor script from Scott Smith (A Simple Plan, The Ruins) and direction by Matthew Ross (Frank & Lola)  that’s dirge-speed-ahead.

              Pasha D. Lychnikoff, front and center

It all looks good thanks to the cinematography from Eric Koretz. Some of the shoot was done in St. Petersburg, but the Siberian settings were actually in Canada, around the small Manitoba community of Marquette.

                     Ana Ularu—thank you, Romania!

Reeves was just one of twenty-seven people who get some type of producer credit. Done for a spare $2,000,000, it was given a limited release which saw little box office revenue (around $600,000) with maybe another 1.6 million gathered on discs.

With Dmitry Chepovetsky, Veronica Ferres (good moments as a hotel receptionist), Molly Ringwald (!), Rafael Petardi, Ashley St. George. 104 minutes.


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