Siberia Review

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With its mix of duped dopes and flash-cut visuals, this latest cinematic offering from the Lowlands - a frantic tale of crooked opportunism and deflated male egos - is a rough-edged hybrid of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Run Lola Run.

As in his 1996 debut feature, Little Sister (a sordid but highly effective study of incest and voyeuristic wish-fulfilment), director Robert Jan Westdijk relies a touch too heavily on the Roald Dahl style of twist ending. Yet, his astute shuffling of film stocks and the vibrant pacing (to the accompaniment of a driving techno score) give the action an energy to match its yoof-oriented iconoclasm.

However, it's impossible to overlook the smug sexism that underpins this unrepentant comedy; seemingly every female resident of Freddy's Peace Hotel regards casual sex as the city's number one tourist activity, although Lana temporarily metes out a modicum of justice.

But, away from its lapses in political correctness, Siberia has a certain callous charm. Refugees from Little Sister, Mesters and Fernhout, make a predatory version of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, as they not only steal valuables, but also passport photos, which they keep on their altar of conquests.

Against their cocksure villainy, Simac combines Slavic cunning and moody allure. She gives Lana a Garboesque deadpan that contrasts neatly with Hugo's macho swaggering and Goof's puppyish willingness. Even Baywatch star Nicole Eggert appears to good effect, in a cultural side-swipe cameo as Lana's dumb-blonde American travelling companion.

While it undoubtedly conveys something of city life, it's a shame that Westdijk resorts so readily to MTV montage, as the narrative has a momentum of its own that needs little help from gimmickry.