Keanu Reeves finds himself in a crossroads in this stylish thriller from director Matthew Ross.
Lucas Hill is an American diamond smuggler who heads to Russia to make a major deal with local Russian mob boss Volkov. The major deal involves a sample of a rare blue diamond that has been found by Lucas’ partner Pyotr. However, upon his arrival in St. Petersburg, Lucas is unable to reach his partner. However, Volkov gives Lucas two days to come up with the sample in a moment of understanding.
Lucas heads to Siberia to look for Pyotr. On his first night there, he meets Katya, the owner of a local café. After an altercation with two locals outside the café, Katya takes him in for some rest. Lucas and Katya soon begin a love affair much to the chagrin of her brother Ivan, who expects her to marry local Anton. However, when Lucas finally has a chance to return to St. Petersburg to meet with Volkov, he soon discovers there is something in store for him that will change the course of his life forever.
With an official comeback role with his now iconic John Wick character, his recent film choices have been once again a mixed bag. However, with this thriller, which has some neo-noir style tones, this is one of Reeves’ better efforts as a conflicted man who starts with one agenda in mind only to come out with a lot more. Scott B. Smith’s screenplay crafts the struggle of Reeves’ central character of Lucas as he attempts to get the deal done so he can return home and ends up in a world he never imagined he would be.
The driving force of the film lies in the relationship between Lucas and Katya, played by Romanian actress Ana Ularu. Their chemistry starts out a bit with tension before it goes into a full love affair. The word affair is stressed as Lucas is revealed in a flashback and in one scene to be married to Gabby, played by Molly Ringwald. Lucas’ loyalty to his new love is constantly tested by Katya’s overprotective brother Ivan, played by Dmitry Chepovetsky, and in a somewhat pivotal brief scene during a hunt, it seems as if Lucas does earn a bit of Ivan’s respect.
That doesn’t take away the performances of other key pivotal actors in their roles. Pasha D. Lychnikoff is quite the interesting figure as Russian mobster Volkov, who despite having reservations, sees something in Lucas and eventually finds him to be a possible loyal man to make the deal with. That comes much to the chagrin of right hand man Pavel, played by Rafael Petardi. James Gracie’s South African smuggler Vincent only adds fuel to the fire as he puts Lucas in a situation that could threaten both his newfound love and the deal. Veronica Ferres makes the most of her limited screen time as Raisa, the hotel concierge who is friends with Lucas while on his trip, even giving him warning when it is pivotal.
Siberia is a well-made thriller that revolves around one man’s struggle and his life changing forever in both a negative and positive manner, driven by the performances of Keanu Reeves and Ana Ularu.
WFG RATING: B
Saban Films presents a Buffalo Gal Pictures production in association with Global Road, Company Films and Summerstorm Entertainment. Director: Matthew Ross. Producers: Stephen Hamel, Keanu Reeves, Cassian Elwes, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Braden Aftergood, and Dave Hansen. Writer: Scott B. Smith; story by Smith and Stephen Hamel. Cinematography: Louise Ford. Editing: Louise Ford.
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Aleks Paunovic, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Eugene Lipinsky, James Gracie, Rafael Petardi, Veronica Ferres, Molly Ringwald.
Saban Films will release the film in select theaters, VOD, and Digital HD on July 13.