A worker at a Russian nuclear facility gets exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. In order to provide for his family, he steals some plutonium and sets out to sell it on Moscow's black market with the help of an incompetent criminal.
A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.
Jada Pinkett Smith
In Russia, the technician and family man Timofey is exposed to 1,000 REMs (Roentgen Equivalent Man) of radiation in the nuclear facility where he works. The facility director hides the level of exposure from Timofey and tries to force him to assume the blame for the accident and puts Timofey on unpaid leave. Aware that the exposure is lethal and feeling the sickness of radiation, Timofey steals 100 mg of plutonium and heads to Moscow expecting to sell it on the black market for US$ 30,000.00 to give to his wife Marina and his seven year-old son Tolya. Meanwhile, the small-time criminal Shiv and the gangsters Vlad and Yegor need to pay US$ 6,000.00 to the powerful mobster Starkov in 72 hours. When Shiv meets Timofey trying to sell the Pu-239, he sees the chance to pay his debts and make some money. But he is incompetent and gets in trouble with powerful mobsters. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You know who wore hat like this?
[mimicking pistols with hands]
Jesse James. He wore hat just like this. He only stole from rich people, so he really wasn't a thief. He'd go into a rough place like Chicago or Brooklyn and do business.
The CIA chased him for years. Whenever Jesse Jackson needed a car he stole one.
What did I say?
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The end credits of the movie are presented in English. The letters cast a shadow in dark red, which provide the same information as the English credits, but in Russian. See more »
Written by Armen S. Grigoryan
Performed by Krematoriy See more »
PU-239 is one of those movies where you find yourself without much to say about it. Paddy Considine, Oscar Isaac, Stephen Berkoff, and Radha Mitchell give decent performances and the film is not badly directed, but what cinema should do that PU-239 does not is leave you with a passionate reaction. I found that after having watched it, it was more like it was something on a list that I could check off and move on rather than an experience or an entertainment. It isn't even boring. It just doesn't reach. That's the reason why one feels so indifferent towards it. The plot is interesting:
Considine plays a family man who works at a top-secret, worryingly shabby plutonium plant in a Russian town after the fall of the Soviet Union, and he's exposed to radiation while trying to stop a malfunction. The facility's managers try to convince Considine and also themselves that his exposure was a survivable 100 REMs, while accusing him of sabotage and suspending him without pay, but his colleagues help him discover the truth, which is that he was exposed to ten times the amount of radiation that the managers maintained he had. It's stated by one character in the movie that people in Hiroshima were exposed to less.
So, with only days to live, and not letting his wife, played by Mitchell, know of his fate, Considine goes to Moscow. He hooks up with a small-time gangster, played by Isaac, who is in a great predicament himself, in hopes of finding someone to whom he can sell a vial of weapons-grade plutonium he has stolen from his plant so that he can send money back to his family to secure their future, though he states various times that his town is not on the map, which makes it unfeasible to send his letter home, much less any money. What's interesting about the dynamic between Considine and Isaac is that they never really form a bond, one being earnestly cooperative in his final days of life and one being frantic for his own interests to survive an almost as likely fate. Yet, they both have the interests of a wife and child in mind and have the same drive under those circumstances.
But the Russian mobsters are too cinematic for a story as real and historical as this one. They do things only Guy Ritchie, Quentin Tarantino, and David Mamet characters do, especially Isaac's boss, who delivers a silly, unrealistic monologue when he first appears that in reality would have his listeners lost.
This is not a bad film. It just minimizes the effect it could've had.
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