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
Based on a short story by Ken Kalfus, PU-239 is about a man who worked all of his adult life in a nuclear processing facility, only to find himself contaminated beyond hope of survival because the plant is literally falling apart. Faced with precious little time to look out for his family's future, a good man does a bad thing, by stealing a small quantity of weapons grade plutonium to sell on the black market. His journey takes him to Moscow,where he must deal with Russian mobsters and street thugs while trying to survive long enough to make a transaction.
The film is filled with little facts about the power and dangers of radiation, and examples of the affect that perestroika has had on Russian society. The plot takes many turns as the main characters find themselves in one ironic situation after another. While the details may be contrived (hey - it's a movie), the basic plot is very plausible and the scary thing is how much enriched plutonium is actually unaccounted for in the former USSR.
I feel sure this film will be made available on DVD someday. But if you have access to HBO, watch it now. If you like dark satire and science, this films for you.
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