Easy Money

Easy Money
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Director: Daniel Espinosa
Cert: 15A
Genre: Crime
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Matias Padin Varela, Dragomir Mrsic
Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins

You might well be asking why this Swedish thriller is arriving in a cinema near you, well behind the curve as far as Swedish TV exports are concerned and some three years after the film’s European release.

Somebody somewhere has decided that Easy Money deserves a second chance, presumably because the film has already spawned a successful sequel; partly to capitalise on the presence of The Killing's Joel Kinnaman; and mostly because the same movie (and, in theory, the rest of author Jens Lapidus Swedish Mafia trilogy) is about to go Hollywood with Zac Efron(?) attached to the English-language remake.

The relevant "somebody somewhere", in fact, is Martin Scorsese, whose handle appears menacingly across this reissue's promotional materials with the word "Presents" as an added enticement.

Who are we to argue?


A fast and loose reworking of Great Expectations for the Grand Theft Auto set, Easy Money casts Kinnaman as JW, a whipsmart economics student whose flash Stockholm lifestyle is predicated on a dodgy second job (illegally driving a cab at night). JW is not nearly as glamorous as all that: in reality, our hero is the Scandi equivalent of a redneck with no apparent means. His dad works at a saw mill and his mom shuffles papers at a job agency.

JW’s obsession with uptown gal Sophie soon lands him in an even bigger mess involving a Chilean drug baron, a Serbian assassin, an overstretched banker and 40 kilos of purest cocaine.Dogs and cabbages soon pop up as part of nefarious smuggling schemes. No, really. Much to-ing and fro-ing ensues.

Given that Swedish film-makers have perfected the art of making action sequences from no real action at all (Look, he's going down the corridor, only just staying ahead of this vaguely wobbly, shoulder-high tracking shot), you can only imagine how exciting the plot point-plump Easy Money is. Espinosa (last seen directing Safe House) and screenwriter Maria Karlsson make engaging sense of potentially nonsensical narrative developments.Kinnaman is a magnetically murky lead at the heart of the madness.

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic