SUMOskinny magazine is the ultimate guide to college life. Part local, part national, and all college.
There isn’t much better than an honest and grimy, overly hyperactive and enthralling foreign thriller – and director Daniel Espinosa (who made “Safe House” earlier this year starring my man Denzel) has certainly found his mark in this genre with “Easy Money.”
In Chinese, the word for “crisis” also can mean “opportunity,” and that is how Johan (Joel Kinnaman) sees the world or drug dealing. As a young man coming from a poor northern Swedish town to the Stockholm School of Business, he hungers for the lifestyle of the rich and famous and soon gets caught up with some cocaine dealers in order to fund his craving. His dealer buddies refer to him as JW, solidifying the double life he comes to live trying to go after some quick and easy money.
Johan finds his first real relationship with Sophie (Lisa Henni) as his world quickly turns upside down amidst the business of international double-crossing dope dealers. Swedish JW gets entangled with a Chilean escaped convict named Jorge (Matias Varela) who knows everything about cocaine, the Yugoslavian mafia, a group of reckless Serbians and German dealers who export their product in cabbage, among other vegetables.
“Easy Money” quickly turns from excitingly rapid and hilarious to just as quick and quite devastating in the blink of an eye, and that pace of the film directly relates to how fast JW is growing up as the good for nothing dealers around him are stuck in their childish ways. He knows he’s much smarter than them; he is the brain behind the accounting of the dirty money. But just like all gangsters do, JW becomes all too demanding and greedy and eventually becomes paranoid and only out for himself.
As I’ve mentioned multiple times before, this film is FAST. The quick cuts are elaborate and detailed and there aren’t any shots wasted in the telling of this dense tale of both loyalty and disloyalty, depending on what day it is and whether or not the characters are in a good mood. The acting is great all around, as Kinnaman is especially persuading as a good boy gone bad, solidifying the fact that he's going to make a good Alex Murphy in the 2013 remake of "Robocop."
Espinosa has a hell of a career ahead of him. The presence of Martin Scorsese (who presented this film) is clearly visible within the first act of “Easy Money,” and the mastermind was surely a brilliant influence on the young Espinosa. The plot of this film is extremely intricate, unfolding around you as the message behind the film is brought to the screen through a series of rapid cuts and an information filled storyline.
And what is the message? Well, it’s that people of pride from different backgrounds and nationalities just can’t see eye to eye when money is on the line. “Easy Money” is kind of the anti-“Grand Illusion” in that sense, because regardless of whatever orders these men receive, their pride comes first, and each one of them still lusts for supreme authority over every other person in their business.
Based on the 2006 novel of the same name written by Jens Lapidus, “Easy Money” is not the least bit embellished to appeal to the action-loving eye. It’s reserved to the point where the build-up towards the climax will be highly anticipated but not completely understood initially. And that’s what I’m looking for in a thriller, just a bit of ambiguity.
Everytime you socialize with SUMOskinny, you get points. Read a story? Points. Share a story? Points. Use points to get free stuff in our shop now.