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.
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.
- "Everything decays" says the main character, a poor man who was inadvertently poisoned while working at a Russian Nuclear facility. Knowing that he is dying, he sets out with a stolen quantity of PU 239, a weapons grade form of radioactive material.
To attempt to make something meaningful come out of the certain end of his life, he sets out for Moscow, where he incompetently attempts to sell the lethal material to who ever can read his hand-held sign, which simply says "PU 239." To the civilized mind this scene is more remnicient of the American Wild West than a modern scene in a country as developed as Russia. To sell radioactive material, you just write the product name on a sign and hold it out for everyone on the street to observe? The protagonist does so as innocently as if he were selling vegtables at a roadside stand. As the plot races on, one gets the opinion that Russia IS the Wild west. Life is cheap, very cheap!
With that first clumsy attempt at converting the material to cash for his family (wife and young son), he collides with an unimaginative street hood. Together, the dying man, and the incompetent criminal approach multiple other criminals with the offer to make them rich. However, the Biblical warning "there is no honor among thieves" plays out as the thugs eventually kill first the hood that "represents" him, and then he, himself.
The bullet from the Moscow criminal did not truly kill him, however. The truth is that he was dead from the inception of the story. The product is death on wheels. In the movie, it is referred to as having a 40,000 year half life. Be this as it may, it is not nose candy. However, reaping what he sowed, the man that shot the dying man to death, then stupidly, snorts from the vile, and the story soon ends. The movie plays like a parable. Who among us can be wise enough to understand the deeper meanings that this story reveals?