Reviewer's Rating 4 out of 5  
Siberia (2000)
18

One of the very few Dutch films to secure an international release, and one of the few most likely to appeal to world youth (because of its visual dazzle and techno soundtrack), this is the story of Hugo and Goof, two Amsterdam chancers, cynical villains who line up susceptible female backpackers in their sights in order to rip them off and keep their passport photos as souvenirs. That is, until a sassy Russian girl enters their lives, acting as a brake on their activities and causing Goof to fall in love with her.

Although "Siberia" is never short on plot, it does leave considerable room to explore the ebb and flow, closeness and insecurity of the particular friendship between two characters who are extremely unlikeable. Yet Westdijk's initial ability to look coolly at these cheap, manipulative morons is eventually replaced by more than a hint of warm understanding which alters the tone of the film for the worse.

However Westdijk, clearly finding his smallish budget no hurdle at all, expresses his ideas in ways which often up-end expectation, and his three leads deliver punchy, on-the-nail performances throughout. This energy is certainly matched by the director's pyrotechnical style which on the one hand captures the anarchic fizz of the two predators, but on the other reveals a lack of confidence on the part of Westdijk who has plot enough to let it speak for itself. Thus "Siberia" is often buoyed by its style but occasionally drowns in it. Still, as they trawl Europe for talent, I'm sure Hollywood executives will be buying the director a ticket for Tinseltown.

End Credits

Director: Robert Jan Westdijk

Writer: Jos Dreissen, Robert Jan Westdijk

Stars: Hugo Metsers jr., Roeland Fernhout, Vlatka Simac, Nicole Eggert

Genre: Comedy, World Cinema

Length: 87 minutes

Cinema: 18 August 2000

Country: UK

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