The story unfolds in tsarist Russia, during the rule of Alexander III (1885). McCracken, an inventor (Richard Harris), builds a steam-engine tree-cutting machine, specifically for the vast Siberian forests (hence the name of it, “The Barber of Siberia”). McCracken hopes to make a fortune by selling the machine to the Russians. However, he realizes that getting such a big commission will be difficult, especially in Russia, known for its bureaucracy and unpredictability, so he hires a professional seductress Jane Callahan (Julia Ormond) who will pose as his daughter and charm the Russian officials into helping him.
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Jane travels from Massachusetts to Moscow. On the last part of her journey, in the train, she meets and befriends a group of Russian cadets. One of them, Andrey Tolstoy (Oleg Menshikov), sparkles her interest since he has the same last name as the famous Russian author whose book Jane is reading; however, Andrey states that he is not related to the writer. Jane arrives to Moscow and begins her “work.” One of her targets is General Radlov (Alexei Petrenko), the Deputy Chairman of the Commission on Technical Innovations and also the head of the cadet school Andrey attends. The General quickly succumbs to Jane charms. Not being fluent in English, he writes his feelings down in a letter and asks Andrey to read it to Jane out loud when she and her supposed “father” arrive. Andrey starts reading the letter but half way through it switches to declaring his own love for Jane, stunning everyone.
The incident is hushed. Jane continues to work on the General Radlov, although she returns Andrey's feelings. Tortured by jealousy, Andrey attacks the general in the theatre, right in the middle of a student performance of “The Barber of Seville” where he was starring as Figaro. It so happens that the play is attended by members of the royal family, and Andrey's action is perceived as an attempt on their lives. His honor would not let him reveal the real reason for the attack. Andrey ends up shackled and sent to Siberia.
The review of this Movie prepared by Laura Southcombe