Keanu Reeves, in the snow, narrowly avoiding death from his corrupt diamond flogging friends? – I’ll take it!
A breezy, blizzard drenched Siberia consumes the screen making for chilly viewing of this romance come crime flick (emphasis on the romance part), albeit a pretty sprinkle of snow can’t save this one from inevitable eye-rolling doom; sorry Neo, you aren’t ‘The One’ here.
After gracing our screens and fully embodying John Wick’s calculated reckless, the never ageing Keanu takes on Lucas Hill; a diamond trader who seems to be in much deeper than he thinks with his supposed Russian business partners. When associate and ‘friend’, Pyotr (Boris Gulyarin) lets him down with an important client looming, it’s down to Luca’s charm and sheer luck to pull this deal off alone and get the hell out of dodge.
It seems there’s not a lot to do in this small town of Russia other than drink vodka and jump into bed with the first woman the man sees. Thus falling for Katya (Ana Ularu); a woman who seems equally bored of her barmaid job, current man and drinking vodka alone. One thing can be said here though, the two have good chemistry (not great), but solid old fashioned rawness minus the frill of Hollywood’s candlelit dinners and matching underwear, which is rather refreshing. However, no good comes of their relationship other than keeping each other warm at night.
Ruthless crime boss Boris (Pasha D. Lychnikoff) still needs to see this deal through, have the beautiful diamonds in his own hands; not just the promise of them and the poor American still has to try his best to negotiate a deal with basic Russian and a lack of product he and his partner previously offered. Unfortunately, all we get for a considerable chuck of this is Boris desperately trying to be as outrageous as possible, acting like a lunatic and not quite pulling it off. This leaves the viewer with a sense that what these people are doing or saying is only there to add shock value. No shock added here, just a poor choice of character motivation.
Ok, let’s face it – unless Keanu is back flipping in tube stations or playing Twister with death, oh and of course the speechless John Wick, this handsome chap falls short of an awarding winning performance. The merging or indeed lack of between the main plotlines; Hill’s business and his new love affair makes for uninspiring viewing. Perhaps it was the convoluted script, or an absence of weighty dialogue in this feature that simply didn’t allow the man true access to understanding exactly what makes his character tick.
Disappointingly so, for director Matthew Ross this is no ‘Frank and Lola’ with Siberia falling flat on its face, swaying far too close to the romance line destroying any potential it had to be a gritty crime thriller.The punchy ending was its only saving grace, slightly salvaging the lackluster narrative and beyond pointless phone calls to people that have clearly gone MIA.
Put it this way…no one likes diamonds enough to watch this one again.