“Easy Money” Review

By July 28, 2012

When you have names like James Ellroy and Martin Scorsese on your poster, people should take note. That’s what I did at least, and I gotta say, it was a lot better than most of the movies out there.

JW (Joel Kinnaman), social climber and promising student at the Stockholm School of Economics, seems to be on the fast track to the good life. An upstart who claims his working class parents are diplomats, he takes great pains to look the part of old money, sewing a set of designer buttons onto his cheap dress shirts to hobnob with Sweden’s young elite on the weekends, while he works hard for the not-so-squeaky-clean Abdulkarim (Mahmut Suvakci) driving a cab to make ends meet during the week.

One day he is offered 20,000 kronor to pick up a man and, after a moment’s deliberation, he agrees. That man is Jorge (Matias Varela), a career criminal and recent prison escapee, and he is looking for a place to lay low from authorities and the Serbian mob while he helps to organize a large, and potentially game changing, shipment of cocaine. Hot on the heels of Jorge is Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic), muscle for the Serbs and grudging guardian of his ten-year-old daughter…

As co-star of AMC’s recently cancelled ‘The Killing’ and cast as the title character in the ‘RoboCop’ remake, Joel Kinnaman is certainly making some serious waves stateside, and rightly so. Adorning the walls of his student housing, Kinnaman’s JW pins pictures of male models as a constant reminder of how he should look and carry himself, but as the story develops and various truths and lies come out to wreak havoc on his psyche, we are witness to a great young talent as he skillfully and helplessly strips away layer after layer of his carefully calculated persona. Equally solid are both Matias Varela and Dragomir Mrsic, and although they have plenty of backstory, pathos and screen time thrown their way, it’s Kinnaman’s show all the way.

Far more a drama than an actioner, Daniel Espinosa proves his worth directing both and manages to keep the 124 minute runtime lean, mean and quick throughout. It’s no small wonder that he was recruited to direct this year’s Denzel Washington vehicle ‘Safe House’, which while not as good, still served to mark the arrival of a genuine talent.

Released originally as “Snabba Cash,” and the first filmed adaptation in a trilogy of novels written by Jens Lapidus, “Easy Money” has become the latest Swedish film to get an American remake green-lit. Following in the wake of “Let Me In” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” said remake is set for a 2014 release and is to be produced by and star the admittedly underdeveloped, yet still underrated, Zac Efron as part of his bid at a wider, more mature, audience.

The film is rolling out to various US cities in limited engagements and should you be lucky enough to be near, I urge you to give it a shot.

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Jacob Hayman
Jacob's stomach often hurts and his mind often races. He prefers a good drink and chat to most other things in life, his OkCupid is far more active than his Twitter, and Brazil, Gremlins 2, Magnolia, Pather Panchali, and Roman Holiday are his favorite films. He lives in Los Angeles, where he was born and raised, and constantly considers taking up welding.