Movie Review – Siberian Education

Posted: June 12, 2015 in Movie Reviews
Tags: , ,

This movie could have easily been a cult blockbuster if had been made in India. With the treatment which Ram Gopal Varma gives, this movie could have been a great blockbuster film. Siberian Education had every bit of character that was necessary for a blockbuster film. Initially I misunderstood this film to be a famous extremely violent movie. I wanted to watch one such movie to sooth my nerves as I was getting restless but it ended up to be a different type of film.


Many scenes remind you of Eastern Promises but definitely the movie wasn’t of that standard. But the set up was similar. The lead characters talk in thick Russian accent, they look like characters taken right of Dan Brown books. The difference being the Russians here are both antagonists and protagonists, unlike James Bond films where Russians are only villains. How long have I been thinking that Russia is another Afghanistan where their only job is to make bombs? Even in Afghanistan we don’t know what’s happening. We only know what is projected to us.

John Malkovich aka Granpa Kuzja does a Don Corleone here. In fact all actors do their job perfectly even though they’re all type casted. A don with heart of gold, a good gangster, a bad gangster, an innocent girl and their set of naïve friends. It’d have been better if there had been more of grey characters than just being black and white. Because the tension isn’t much. When you see Gagarin you almost get that he’s going to be the villain. It’s the same with Kolima, you sense he’s going to end up victorious. But how is the matter and they do it in style.

All the characters develop in a curious way. Granpa’s way of teaching and the way he held command was awesome. The way we get to know about his character, slowly, from bad to good was terrific. We see two disciples of his, the safe guy Kolima and the more adventurous guy Gagarian. Gagarian turns out to be the bad fella. You can say that he has it in him, citing the scene where he takes gun to police or you can say that he was made into a bad guy because of his stint in jail. May be Gagarian would have been good if he had his Granpa along with him throughout. May be he’d have had his evil nature at least in front of Grandpa. Kolima on the other hand grows up to be a well cultured boy who firmly believes in his Granpa’s teachings. When Kolima goes to jail he’s already grown up and he knows what he is. So the jail life of Gagarian and Kolima really can’t be compared.

I loved the climax which I’d not like to reveal. But editing I feel could have been better. The way it goes here and there was not done masterfully. It happens out of a sudden but it doesn’t surprise us. It just ends up irritating, not letting us get involved in any of the story. But Kolima’s revenge story was terrific, the way he goes about finding Gagarian and the pain that he takes was terrific.

I also liked the way they pronounced the word Siberia as Sea-beria instead of traditional Si-beria. This movie didn’t become big, may be because of its forceful translation to English. May be it’d have been a better movie if made in Russian. We’d have got a feel like ‘City of God’


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