by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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Moscow Chill is the story of a computer hack, who’s satisfied with just breaking codes of ATM machines in the United States, until he gets caught. When breaking the codes, the cash machines spew currency out for any passersby who might be in the area. Ray Perso, played by Norman Reedus, is a loner and much like a modern-day Robin Hood—stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
Once Ray is caught, his computer skills catch the eye of an organized Russian gang, whose members quickly spring him out of jail—illegally—and bring him to Moscow, so he can use his expertise for their criminal gain.
He appreciates his new found freedom, even though he’s still working as a criminal. Ray has never been out of the United States and finds Moscow both intriguing and alluring when he meets a beautiful woman, Maya, played by Xusha Buravsky. With Maya, he finds acceptance and a family unit, so to speak—both of which he’s not had before in his life. He’s now faced with misgivings and second thoughts about the criminal life he’s leading. But these sentiments come too late, as he’s in over his head with breaking bank codes and illegally transferring funds from one account to the next.
Working with the Moscow underworld becomes a grueling task, and it’s not that Ray can’t hack it (no pun intended), but he begins to wonder just when it will all end.He performs transfer after transfer and even becomes involved with a murder of an elderly man who is recovering in the hospital. But he later finds out that he and his cronies may have murdered the wrong man. But it’s all in the name of money—in this case about $40 million.
Ray spends the remainder of the movie trying to keep one step ahead of his Russian benefactors, while living some semblance of normalcy by romancing his girlfriend and making friends with her father and young son.
Eventually, Ray is cornered by a Russian businessman who wants him to complete one last transaction—that of making records for military arsenal disappear, so the businessman can sell the weapons without them being traced.
Ray is resisting the urge and gets caught up in a gunfight, which leaves his close partner dead. It turns out, however, that the businessman is being followed by police officers and Ray, once again, finds himself in a pinch. The government official offers him amnesty if he hacks into computer records and compiles dossiers on more than 30 men whom the government wants to arrest.
Fortunately, one of Ray’s old underworld crime buddies comes to his rescue, bails him out of jail and starts Ray on a quest to come clean, leave Moscow with his girlfriend and hopefully start a new life elsewhere.
But temptation waves a carrot in Ray’s face one last time; and finally he must make hard fast decisions about his future, as well as that of his new love. But crime and fast money are all Ray has ever known. Can he resist the temptation and chuck it all for love and family? Moscow Chill is an “unstoppable thriller” with much appeal and suspicion. Reedus is great as an international criminal who at the end accepts the fact that he is still a loner who really doesn’t have a home at all.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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