(director: Matthew Ross; screenwriters: story by Stephen Hamel/Scott B. Smith; cinematographer: Eric Koretz; editor: Louise Ford; music: Danny Bensi/Saunder Jurriaans; cast: Keanu Reeves (Lucas Hill), Molly Ringwald (Gabby), Ana Ularu (Katya), Pasha D Lychnikoff (Boris Volkov), Dmitry Chepovetsky (Ivan), James Gracie (Vincent), Eugene Lipinski (Polozin), Rafael Petardi (Pavel), Ashley St. George (Christa), Veronica Ferres (Raisa); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Gabriela Bacher/Cassian Elwes/Dave Hansen/Stephen Hamel/Keanu Reeves/Braden Aftergood; Lionsgate/ Saban Films; 2018-Canada/USA – in English & Russian)

“It might be atmospheric and chilling, but is also too cold and muddled.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A fatalistic romance and dark crime story blended together and flatly directed by Matthew Ross (“Frank & Lola”/”A Hero’s Welcome”) from a story by Stephen Hamel, that’s written by Scott B. Smith as an arty neo-noir film. It might be atmospheric and chilling, but is also too cold and muddled.
The American black-market diamond trader Lucas Hill (Keanu Reeves) is involved in a shady deal to sell a rare blue diamond for $50 million, that has him travel to St. Petersburgh, Russia, to meet his Russian gangster buyers, led by crime boss Boris Volkov (Pasha D. Lychnikoff). He says goodbye on Skype to his estranged American wife (Molly Ringwald).

Upon arrival in Russia, Lucas gets the bad news his contact man with the diamond, Pyotr (Boris Gulyarin), his longtime partner, has vanished. He thereby travels to the gem mining town of Mirny, in east Siberia, looking for his missing man and temporarily running away from the ruthless mob boss who had a deal with Lucas that has been delayed for two days.

In Siberia, Lucas meets an attractive lonely younger woman Katya (Ana Ularu, Romanian actress), who runs a small cafe/bar. They hit it off and engage in steamy sex, but his involvement with her also endangers their lives as he should be looking for the diamond and she should be concerned her brother (Dmitry Chepovetsky) and his hunting friends are not too impressed with her American lover.
Though Reeves is fine and Ularu is extra fine, their solid performances can’t elevate a film stuck in Siberia.

REVIEWED ON 2/25/2023  GRADE: C+