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.
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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
Uranium, Neptunium, Plutonium. They came from space; found their way here by comet and meteorite. No child ever wished this from a star. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl. Problems with half-lives forty-thousand years long. Half a life. Time takes half of us away and comes back later for the rest. We are children and then we are parents. We are long division. Slowly we decay into memory.
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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 »
"Pu-239", or "The Half Life of Timofey Berezin" is a film set in post cold war Russia. A land ruled by competing Russian Mafia factions and run by aging, failing nuclear power plants. Timofey Berezin, a nuclear power plant technician finds himself exposed to an excessive amount of radiation caused from a near failure at the plant he works at. Eventually he learns that his company has lied to him about the extent of the exposure and he only has a matter of days to live before being overcome from radiation sickness and poisoning. His one mission is to secure a safe and healthy future for his wife and son that he will be leaving behind. His solution, steal a small amount of weapons grade plutonium (Pu-239) with the intent to sell it on the black market in Moscow, and give the money to his family. Timofey is played by actor Paddy Considine, most recently known for his role as the reporter Simon Ross in "The Bourne Ultimatum". Considine's portrayal of Timofey has similarities to that of Simon Ross. However, where Ross seemed to be the naive innocent victim of circumstances way beyond his expectations, he plays Timofey as a humble innocent man trying to serve his duty to his country, people and family, yet when faced with a horrific situation, he meets it head on with unswerving determination and resolve. The humanity and innocence mixed with cold steely tenacity that Considine brings to this character is haunting and brilliant. A truly beautiful and powerful performance. Timofey's wife, Marina is played by Radha Mitchell, an actress I have always found to have tremendous depth and power. Though many of her roles in the past seem to me to be beneath her potential (i.e. "Pitch Black", "Silent Hill") she always seems to shine through with grit and an immense presence. Pu-239 is no exception to this. Though the role is fairly minor, her abilities make it shine out bright and true in this film. Also featured prominently is the character of Shiv, played by relative newcomer Oscar Isaac. Though initially, Shiv's character seems like an obvious comic relief spot in what is otherwise a haunting and depressing world we eventually see a much greater depth to him. On the surface he seems like a two bit punk playing at being a big time Russian gangster. Yet we see in numerous instances a much more troubled and torn soul. Shiv is a man forced into his role of hustler/strongman who seems to be yearning to understand how to be a strong provider for his son and girlfriend. Though he does everything he can to hide this emotional "weakness" from those around him we see it time and time again play out in his desperation and hope for a life beyond what he has found. The clash of Shiv and Timofey's characters is a profound one. One is a man that has become an educated yet unappreciated (and eventually abandoned) scientist, who has given his life for his loved ones. The other, a criminal dealing in extortion and prostitution, desperately trying to save his hopeless life. Yet when sitting side by side, one can't ignore the similarities between them. Both in hopeless struggles for their own lives, and both yearning to provide something better for those they care for. Two starkly different paths, converged to a single moment and place in time. The shining star in this film though, are the poetic monologues placed throughout. Read by Considine, these profound thoughts on a nuclear world, a world where utter annihilation rests in a silent, invisible force that "rewrites your very DNA", resonate in an eerie, forbidding and ominous tone. They flow through this film so subtly you almost miss the power and potency of them until, like aftershocks, their ghostly beauty crashes upon the listeners consciousness. First time director, Scott Burns (co-writer of "The Bourne Ultimatum") artistically contrasts, in both music and color, the bleak hopeless life of Timofey with the flashy, colorful, yet hollow and meaningless life of Shiv. Beautiful imagery, awe inspiring monologues, and powerfully acted characters fill the screen of "Pu-239". For a team of relative newcomers, "Pu-239" is a triumphant success.
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