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Easy Money/Snabba Cash


Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Matias Padin Varela, Dragomir Mrsic, Lisa Henni, Deja Cukic, Annika Whittembury, Lea Stojanov, Fares Fares

Director: Daniel Espinosa

It would be hard not to like a movie that quotes Mel Brooks - “It’s good to be the king”– and in the right context, too.

Director Daniel Espinosa’s third film (the Denzel Washington thriller Safe House followed) perfectly demonstrates that the current appeal of Scandinavian crime dramas is far from fading.

Espinosa collaborated on the screenplay, based on criminal defence lawyer Jen Lapidus’ best-seller and illuminates a multilayered story which blends hard-assed crime with a scary picture of Stockholm’s criminal underworld inhabited by the Yugoslavian and Serbian malefactors who operate a profitable drugs business in Stockholm.

Giving the drama extra depth, Espinosa tells the parallel story of poor business student Joel Kinnaman who turns to drug running in order to finance his double life where he poses as a member of Stockholm’s upper class. His hidden life brings him dangerously into contact with Matias Varela who is on the run from the police and the Yugoslavian Mafia and trying to avoid Yugoslavian hitman Dragomir Mrsic who is out to kill him…

Espinosa racks up commendable suspense and his staging of action and violence decorated with lashings of appropriate foul language is every bit as effective as the Hollywood model.

The performances, too, are ideally in tune with the gritty story and its execution, and, if there was any justice, Hollywood would simply admire ‘Easy Money’ and then leave it alone.

Needless to say, that won’t happen. Zac Efron is reportedly slated to star in an American remake. See this gripping, eminently satisfying original instead.

(Eerily, the film’s Swedish title Snabba Cash resembles the name of one of the more disposable characters from Star Wars).

Alan Frank

Sweden 2010. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour.
125 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 19 Jul 2013