Judge Joel Pearce steals from the rich and gives to the mob.
They have 40 million reasons to want him dead.
By the middle of Moscow Chill, I was completely dumbfounded. What is this film trying to be? It's structured like a thriller, but it never feels like one. Instead, it plays out like a cross between a bad drama and an amateur travelogue.
Norman Reedus (The Notorious Betty Page) is Ray Perso, a skilled hacker with delusions of grandeur. When he ends up in prison, he's busted out by Russian mobsters, who bring him back to Moscow to get his help obtaining some additional cash (as though Russia doesn't have any hackers of its own). When he arrives, he spends more time hanging out with the criminals than he does doing his job. As things start to turn ugly, though, he begins to rethink his ideas about crime.
Bottom line, Moscow Chill is a terrible film. It's not campy enough to work as a B-level thriller, but it's far too inept to be taken seriously. There are massive pacing problems, as each sequence lasts under a minute. While Reedus isn't completely incompetent, the other actors have no idea what they're doing in this film. They oscillate between moments of stiffness and exaggerated emotion.
More problematic is its plotting. The actual hacking story would hardly fill a 22-minute television episode, and the rest of the running time is spent on useless trivialities. Perso meets a nice girl and her son. The gangsters take him around Moscow to show him the sites. He goes with some thugs to help install a bell tower in a village church. A couple times, I forgot why we were here in the first place. Apparently, writer/director Chris Solimine drew on his own experiences in Russia to script the film, but he probably should have spent less time thinking about his own life, and more trying to put together a good movie.
In all, the whole mess is a massive miscalculation. From the noir-inspired narration to the cheesy Russian music inserted at the worst possible moments, any real potential that Moscow Chill started out with flutters away throughout the film. It could have been a fascinating look at corruption in contemporary Russia, or a fun Robin Hood inspired thriller about a socially conscious criminal. Instead, it never finds a comfortable rhythm and flounders.
The screening DVD that I was sent doesn't have the final specs, but I see nothing here that suggests it will stress your system. There won't be much in the way of special features anyway, though. The final disc will be in letterboxed widescreen with 5.1 surround sound, but the test disc was in stereo.
With the number of great crime movies that come out every year, there's not much reason to seek out Moscow Chill. In fact, I would strongly urge you to stay away. I hereby find Moscow Chill guilty of cinematic treason, and will serve its full sentence here before being deported to Russia for more creative punishment.
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