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Keanu Reeves is back in action, after a fashion, in this drab downer romantic thriller – a less fighty, more arty version of John Wick from the indie director Matthew Ross (Frank & Lola). Fatally, the script requires Reeves, playing a black-market diamond trader, to do some serious acting over and above his usual stiff, stoical delivery of deadpan lines and punches.
Reeves plays Lucas Hill, an American visiting St Petersburg to flog $40m of rare blue diamonds to a Russian mobster (Pasha D Lychnikoff, not exactly breaking the mould of Russian baddies). When his business associate vanishes with the ice, Lucas hotfoots it to Siberia on his tail, finding time to Facetime his wife (Molly Ringwald). I did wonder if pairing Reeves, 54, and Ringwald, 50, was an enlightened example of age-appropriate love interest casting. But no. In Siberia Reeves hooks up with bar owner Katya, played by Ana Ularu, 33. In a post-coital heart to heart, Reeves tells her that the word “diamond” comes from the Greek adámas meaning “unalterable”. He might well be describing his facial expressions.
A strength here is the sober, realistic violence. When Reeves is clobbered outside a bar by a wardrobe-size Russian, he goes down like a toothpick. It’s a film with ambitions to do something more than the video-game shootouts of John Wick. But what that is, I don’t think the film-makers ever discussed in detail: there’s some Le Carré-style intriguery and then of course the romance – Lucas really does spend a remissful amount of his time in Siberia locking lips with Katya. In the end, it’s Siberia that comes off best – a place where everyone speaks English and is super willing to lend a chap a shotgun in a time of need. And it can’t be as cold as all that, since Reeves swans about like he’s dressed for a GQ magazine tailoring fashion shoot.
Source: The Guardian
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