Swedish meatbrawls: ‘Easy Money’ (2012).

1 Aug

Easy MoneyIn absolutely no way related to the goofy 1983 Rodney Dangerfield flick of the same name, Easy Money is a Swedish export full of gang violence, backstabbing and really quite wonderful acting. A recent release here in Ireland, the movie follows three main characters whose individual stories progressively overlap and eventually explode in a super dramatic climatic zenith towards the end.  Gritty and darkly subversive, Easy Money is one of the most intense dramas I’ve seen in a long time.

JW (Joel Kinnaman) is an economics student at Stockholm University, who drives taxis, pushes drugs and parties with the bourgeois in his free time to fund his education. Jorge (Mattias Padin Varela) opens the film with an inventive yet undeniably plausible prison break, although subsequent events clearly show that he hasn’t become a law-abiding citizen.  Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic, a real-life reformed bank robber) is also involved in the narcotics trade, though being recently burdened with a daughter he may be investigating more wholesome career paths. This trio of dramas expose the layered aspect of organised crime, while simultaneously reminding us that even hardened criminals are, in fact, human beings.

Easy Money is brought to us by Daniel Espinosa, the director of 2012’s disappointing Safe House. While that film was marred by a clunky script and embarrassingly bad editing, his latest endeavour suffers no such abnormalities. Through a myriad of accents and languages (Swedish, German, Spanish, English, Serbian and Albanian all get an airing) we are treated to memorable characters and powerful dialogue; certain scenes pack such a dramatic punch that they are genuinely jaw-dropping. One moment in particular at an illegal dog pound is beyond harrowing.

Trundling along as it does at breakneck speed, we scarcely have time to savour a beautiful shot or cathartic scene before we’re whisked away to one of the other parallel storylines. It’s this unflinching sense of pacing that really makes the movie fly by – it’s one of those misleading two-hour films that feels like half its actual length. Nefarious dealings are propped up by random bursts of beautiful cinematography – from sunsets to people lying bloodied in nightclub toilets, this movie is certainly a winner in the visuals department.

Leagues ahead of any crime thriller Hollywood has produced in recent months, Easy Money is an exciting and powerful drama that packs plenty of dramatic punches. The performances are all great, the story is involving, the art direction is impressive…. This movie rocks. It’s no Godfather,but then again, neither is anything else… Except The Godfather.

Simon says: much like healthcare and education, the Swedes know how to make good films.

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