Assured crime drama from Swedish director Daniel Espinosa
The question of whether it's possible for honour to exist amongst thieves has been so well explored onscreen that each new addition to the canon can induce a feeling of fatigue. However Swedish director Daniel Espinosa's third film Easy Money (based on Jens Lapidus' novel) gives the tired subject matter an overhaul, reinvigorating it with credible, compassionate characterisations and dynamic direction.
Rising star Joel Kinnaman stars as JW, an impoverished business studies student with a troubled background who's keen to impress his new rich friends, including love interest Sophie (Lisa Henni). He's making ends meet as a taxi driver, although the firm's shifty dealings provide opportunities to make bigger bucks – that's if he's willing to compromise his morals. Easy Money stretches out to accommodate two additional protagonists who both come into contact with JW and whose fates become entangled with his own – and in doing so it shows the impact that criminal dealings have on family life. A seasoned Serbian hard man Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) is suddenly tasked with the sole care of his eight-year-old daughter Lovisa, and we also get to know Jorge (Matias Varela) a man we see escaping prison at the outset, whose recidivism causes heartbreak for his pregnant sister.
We're well behind the game with this one: Easy Money (also known as Snabba Cash) was a phenomenon in Sweden in 2010, Espinosa has gone on to direct the Hollywood thriller Safe House and Easy Money II has already been released in Sweden. Don't let that deter you as the first film is worth the wait. Espinosa directs with nervous energy, combining blistering action with believable, sympathetic characters; this is assured, emotionally engaging stuff.
Limited release from Fri 19 Jul.