“Siberia” gives the cold shoulder to anyone who enjoys interesting storytelling and engaging dialogue.
It’s cold, barren and devoid of all things interesting – unfortunately I’m not talking about the place the film is named after, the landscape is actually quite stunning. For one-hour-and-twenty-two minutes, we follow Willem Dafoe on a journey of self-discovery and isolation where it becomes impossible to find reason in the randomness.
Clint (Willem Dafoe) has taken refuge in a Siberian tavern where he serves locals with his limited grasp of the native language. What ensues is a series of jump cuts, scattered timelines and a distortion of reality. There’s a scene where Clint performs a sexual act on a heavily pregnant woman in front of her elderly mother and another where a bear unleashes a vicious attack in a fit of rage. There is a story in there somewhere about him reconnecting with the relationships of his past on a spiritual level (deceased father and estranged son) but it’s essentially a one man show. The other characters in his world hold little-to-no weight and could easily be interchanged. With the majority of the sonic aesthetic being carried by the score and the sound of the wild Siberian expanse, it is heavily reliant on the little dialogue it has to give it some extra flavour. Dafoe offers up a cold plate of bland and winy narration.
The whole film feels like one of those pretentious art exhibitions. Those ones where if you don’t understand it you’re the one who’s guilty of not being able to appreciate it, rather than the artist not being able to communicate their vision effectively. Especially with regards to the excessive nudity that does nothing to push the story forward. The problem with this film isn’t the confusion it causes but its failure to make you interest enough to want to understand it.
“Time will pass and you’ll conquer to be lost”, ironically, this is actually a line from the film. At least you can’t say you weren’t warned.
Rating: One-Out-Of-Five Barz