July 05, 2013

Siberian Education (2013)

Siberian Education (2013)
Directed by: Gabriele Salvatores
Country: Italy

Review: Inspired by Nicolai Lilin’s biography, “Siberian Education” is the first English-language film from Italian filmmaker Gabriele Salvatores, best known through the works “I’m Not Afraid”, and especially the Oscar-winner “Mediterraneo”. Starring John Malkovich as Grandfather Kuzya, a Siberian educator and boss of crime, the film counts with a non-Italian cast, headed by two debutant Lithuanians. They play two fearless friends who since childhood, learned the rules to be part of the Siberian clan, but decided to go opposite ways after one of them has been arrested. Friendship, honor, and survival instincts, were depicted in a way that never pleased me, despite the astonishing cinematography by Italo Petriccione. The English words were pronounced with an annoying accent, and the film was never able to convey the seriousness needed for the matter, opting instead to make several attempts to create humorous situations, which fell in complete banality. Even the romance between one of the Siberians, Kolyma, and his doctor’s daughter, Xemya, was totally out of interest and depicted with a considerable amount of stupidity. Scattered and tedious, “Siberian Education” didn’t bring anything more than a dissimulated agitation that never convinced me, only increasing my disconnection with its characters and their motives.

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