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“Siberia” Chills and Thrills






Review by John Delia

It may be listed as a crime thriller, but Siberia has a love story that glues the script together. The film takes you to the top of the world Russia where deals are made on diamonds and a lovely woman is stuck in a small town waiting for a man who can take her away. It’s a nice plot that intertwines a violent deal for the most precious of stones and a daring scheme that impacts it.

Respected diamond dealer for the underworld Lucas Hill (Keanu Reeves) knows when a gem is real and his services are widely known around the world. When deals are made in the underworld, those purchasing the high quality rocks make quick purchases and must rely on men like Hill who can vouch for the authenticity because money exchange is instant. The prize is huge for his services and he’s often called away with little notice to mysterious places in the world.

Keanu Reeves as Lucas Hill in SIBERIA. All photos this review courtesy of Saban Films

On this trip he has a rendezvous in St. Petersburg, Russia where he will meet with his contact Pyotr who will give him a sample diamond to authenticate and present to Boris Volkov (Pasha D. Lychnikoff) one of the cruelest smugglers on the planet. If he agrees to purchase, then a stash of diamonds mined in Siberia will be delivered to Volkov for $50 million. It’s the deal of a lifetime for Hill, but Pyotr’s nowhere to be found.

With two days to come up with the diamonds Hill travels to Minyn, Siberia where his contact lives to get the diamonds. After checking in at his off the grid hotel Hill wanders into a small pub where he meets Katya (Ana Ularu), the bar tender. So begins a story of treachery, deception and murder all centering around one man who finds himself caught up in an unforeseen love affair.

Keanu Reeves as Lucas and Ana Ularu as Katya in SIBERIA

Director Matthew Ross moves his story along at a slow pace spending more time on the love story than on the thriller. While the romance with Katya gets steamy, it’s a nicely put together sensual meeting that fills screen time in between the real meat of the story. When Katya’s brought into the action however, things get very dicey leading to life threatening decision making.

Keanu’s forte, much like that of Tom Cruz, is more of an action “hero” with films like John Wick series, The Matrix franchise and Constantine. Here he takes on a role that’s uncertain involving family entanglement, sex and cheating. And it all takes place while dealing with notorious killers that could take his life in a heartbeat. Although the idea works here, Director Ross should have taken a lesson from James Bond and made the affair an interlude rather than a main drawn out component.

That said, Keanu puts on a usual good show and his lover Katya played by Ana Ularu who’s an excellent choice for the part. Having already been “promised” to a local fellow, she’s smitten by the chance of getting out of her small existence when she meets Hill. Dealing with her brother’s and an uncle that are against her affair, she presses Hill to make decisions that could eventually put him in danger. I do admire her for taking on a NC-17 scene that involves the powerful Russian buyer Boris Volkov. The very prurient tryst gives the film a soft porn edge.

Siberia has been rated R by the MPAA for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use. The violence does get bloody and there’s a vicious scene involving a bear.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good crime thriller. (3.5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Rafael Petardi, Aleks Panovich,   Molly Ringwald
Directed by: Matthew Ross 
Genre: Crime, Romance, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use
Running Time: 2 hrs. 4 min.
Opening Date: July 13, 2018
Distributed by: Saban Films
Released in: Standard

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