Film Review – Easy Money
Sweden has really been supplying some taught and exciting thrillers as of late. The newest example is the exciting Easy Money. Joel Kinnaman, known best in the U.S. for his lead role on AMC’s The Killing, stars as J.W. He’s a smart, slightly shy genius who attends school with a group of upper-class trustfund babies. While he successfully acts like he belongs with them, he secretly lives in a tiny rundown apartment and has to supplement his income driving cabs at night. An opportunity to advance his lifestyle happens at the cab company. Using his business acumen, he becomes an accountant for the Albanian drug dealers he works with there. Through his upper-crust friends, he meets and falls in love with Sophie, but he keeps his criminal life a secret from everyone involved. When the drug dealers end up beating a few people quite badly in front of him, he discovers how over his head he has found himself.
Meanwhile, Mrado (played by Dragomir Mrsic, who at times looks remarkably like Danny McBride), is a cop hot on the trail of these drug dealers. He becomes acutely aware that J.W. is helping them expand their business. But since Mrado himself becomes saddled with taking care of his estranged young daughter, he finds himself needing to be careful of who he crosses. Corrupt cops and ruthless criminals end up sticking both of these men in the middle of the situation.
All of the acting in Easy Money is superb. Kinnaman is tasked with playing a user who eventually tries to redeem himself. He bonds with Jorge, a criminal who escapes from prison at the beginning of the film. But when trying to decide how he might survive, he must decide if he will betray Jorge or not. Moral ambiguity and double crosses abound throughout this story. In many ways, Easy Money has much in common with both The Departed, with all of the plot machinations, and with Ben Affleck’s film The Town, due to its tales of brotherhood in a ground level criminal organization.
No, this is not the first movie of its type. There are plenty of films where the main character has to navigate the precarious waters of drug dealers and the law. But director Daniel Espinosa has helmed a particularly good and well acted example here. This film is well worth seeing.
Final Grade: A-