Directed by Matthew Ross
Diamond dealer Lucas is in Russia to sell some rare blue diamonds but his business partner Pyotr has disappeared, reported to have fled the hotel he was staying at after receiving some unwanted heat. With Pyotr holding the diamonds, Lucas is put in a difficult spot as he has to explain to his client that he doesn’t have the sample to show him. Not wanting to sour the deal, he promises he will have all 12 diamonds in two days and sets about trying to find Pyotr before his mobster client loses patience with him and has his head on a slab. During his hunt for his elusive business partner, Lucas meets cafe owner Katya who seems quite taken by Lucas and wishes to live a life more exciting than running the family business. Together, the two embark on a passionate love affair as Lucas tries to make sense of the situation he’s found himself in and tries to keep his head above water in a foreign land.
Between doing big budget movies, film star Keanu Reeves can be often seen in smaller indie efforts such as SIBERIA. However, following in the footsteps of his other recent indie offering, Exposed, this is yet again a film that isn’t just badly edited but also doesn’t make much sense as a story and therefore binds the viewer for 100 minutes into a test of patience rather than a tale to sink your teeth into. This film pretty much tells the tale of a married diamond dealer who doesn’t really get on with his wife so much and who’s business partner appears to have tried to rip off another client by selling realistic fake diamonds. Caught out, Pyotr is no doubt on the run and leaves Lucas empty handed for the official deal where he’s meant to sell the real diamonds. Meanwhile, a chance meeting with a cafe owner, who takes pity on Lucas after he’s beaten by the local alcoholics, results in offers of sex from the pretty lady herself. With her own brother assuming that she has slept with Lucas after bringing his bruised body back to her place for the night, she figures she might as well get some nookie if the rumours have already spread around town about her American guest staying over for the night. Cue lots of diamond hunting, phone calls to Pyotr and impulsive intercourse and you pretty much have the entire film.
I tried hard to like Siberia but it really is a struggle to actually feel anything, whether it’s concern for Lucas or investment in his relationship with Katya. There are performances that manage to save the film from being unwatchable, in particular Ana Ularu who stars as Katya and brings a personality to her character but unfortunately lead actor Keanu doesn’t seem to quite have his heart in it and his character comes off as quite an empty human being, though how the film plays out I suppose that is part of Lucas’ trait. Other supporting cast members, such as Dmitry Chepovetsky as Katya’s brother Ivan, and Pasha D. Lychnikoff as no-nonsense client Boris Volkov, manage to inject some variety into the movie but ultimately it’s as flat as a pancake and not even a handful of decent performances can redeem it from its overwhelming failures.