Directed by Matthew Ross and starring Keanu Reeves, Siberia is a messy romantic crime thriller that gets stuck at a snail’s pace.
Siberia’s story follows Lucas Hill (Keanu Reeves), a diamond trader that must travel to Russia to complete a deal only to learn that his partner has gone missing and that he needs to go out and locate his diamonds before his client Boris Volkov (Pasha D. Lychnikoff) kills him. Lucas has two days to find the diamonds, which leads him to Siberia, where he meets Katya (Ana Ularu), subsequently getting involved in a steamy affair. The story gets bogged down in following either the crime world, which has plenty of characters that never get enough focus; and the romantic storyline, which just seems like a steamy affair that doesn’t need to waste nearly so much of the spotlight on the sex over the relationship. Which is the first bad part of the film: messy storytelling.
Keanu Reeves might be on top of the world in the action genre with the John Wick series, this doesn’t stop him from making questionable decisions; we can’t blame one of the nicest guys in the business for taking chances, but this is one which doesn’t play to his strengths and it shows in his performance. Ana Ularu does the best she can in the supporting role, which isn’t the best because the character just doesn’t have much motivation; she is a café owner who gets involved in an affair and somewhere along the line this becomes the most important thing in life. Pasha D. Lychnikoff is the client mobster, delivering a performance that leans into the generic Russia stereotype that again pushes the limits, but we never get to see just how far the character will go. Molly Ringwald is credited for being in this film, though she literally answers the phone once and that is it; she is playing Lucas’s wife back in America.
Siberia is filled with negatives, from the barbaric hunting sequences which are meant to show Lucas fitting in with the Russians, to the whole ten-minute conversation between Lucas and Boris about receiving blow jobs from each other’s women. When they finally let us get to an action scene, it does feel over within a blink of an eye without giving us any sort of closure on what we just saw. Siberia tries to use the locations for impact; we have a fancy hotel which is meant to be used for business, the seedy nightclubs for deals, the remote village where Lucas must search for answers, and the snow-filled forest that shows us the conditions outside.
The most interesting side of the film comes from looking at how the diamonds involved are getting authenticated, which shows us just how the business works. We could have had a lot more focus on this side of the film because watching Lucas learn about his diamonds was the best part of a film without any sort of direction.
Overall Siberia is a film that forgets which genre it should be focusing on; it falls flat in too many places and you will forget the events yourself by the end of the film.