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Friday, July 27, 2018

Siberia 2018 * * * Stars

SiberiaDirector: Matthew Ross
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Ana Ularu, Pasha D. Lychnikoff

Five production companies, one entertainment company, and one distributor had a hand in getting 2018's Siberia made. I'm no can-do Hollywood producer but I think it was worth it.

Anyway, Siberia is a slow-burning and slow-churning thriller. It's similar yet antithetical to last year's The Snowman. Siberia's thrills nestle in the mind's eye and not in beatings, chases, or elaborate stunts. As something about a diamond merchant whose diamond selling deal goes sour and off the reservation, Siberia is like chic, Russian film noir with star Keanu Reeves playing a detective-free, Philip Marlowe type.

Image result for Siberia movie scenesGranted, Siberia could've improved on its standoff, shootout ending. It feels abrupt while portraying the Reeves persona as a protagonist afterthought (you see Keanu fending off bad dudes with a mag 10 and you salivate for more). Plus, side player Molly Ringwald who's an 80's actress icon, barely shows up in two faded scenes. Nonetheless, Siberia mostly draws you in and leaves your Basic Instinct-like psyche absorbed and content. Time to pour out a little cinematic liquor (in this case I'm talking vodka).

Keanu Reeves as diamond trader Lucas Hill, sinks his teeth into a role that seems tailor made for him. Sans beating people up a la the styling of John Wick, Keanu relies on minimal talking, bleeding screen presence, and some gadgetry, physical hand movements. Keanu's Hill is in nearly every frame and you as the viewer, follow his every turn (and his many sexual trysts). Minus his work in Speed, Point Break, The Matrix, and Street Kings, this is probably my favorite performance from the guy whose name cordially means, "cool breeze over the mountains".

Image result for Siberia movie scenesSiberia's director is New York City native and Harvard graduate, Mathew Ross. His first flick titled Frank & Lola (which I have yet to see) supposedly is also of the racy, noir variety. With Siberia, Ross is manifest with his vision. He fills the screen with Siberian landscapes, various close-ups, soft-core sex scene realism, and cold, ominous background lighting. His calculated pacing along with Keanu's scruffy, roughed up stares into the camera, make Siberia work as crossfire fiction. In truth, this is not an action extravaganza or a headlong genre affair yet it sets you in motion. Would I recommend that you see Siberia with a refreshed open mind? As the Russians say, the answer would be a profound "da". Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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