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Had big doubts when I came. Had less doubts when I left and they were
of another kind. But, big surprise, Swedish film industry has produced
a gangster thriller which is on international level, although not the
The business school student here is too fascinated by suburban immigrant mobster life. And he wants the money involved, so he gets into the racket. He's a solitaire in that kind of life, which of course (what did you expect?) is told in a cliché way, but the people you meet aren't just monsters, running the evil machine or being part of it. They are somewhat believable and so is the gloomy mood in this environment.
What happens is rather foreseeable, but it's anyway a quite intelligent movie about crime and criminals. It could have been much much worse.
A really good action thriller with interesting characters. I do NOT
think that they are plain stereotypes without Drott. On the contrary.
You feel for them and it's easy to get engaged in their lives and all
The movie manages to bring forth some very sensitive moments as well as very brutal scenes with realistic violence. I especially likes the lighting when it comes to the technical part of Snabba Cash. I also liked the shots of some of the dialogue which i found innovative without being over the top. They made it very interesting to watch.
I usually look the other when it comes to Swedish movies but I really enjoyed this one.
I say watch it.
The first time I saw this film I had just finished the book. Simply
loved the book so I was really looking forward to the movie adaptation.
With successful adaptations of great books such as The girl with the
dragon tattoo in fresh memory. Sadly I found myself pretty
disappointed. The problem according to me was how they had handled the
material. Compared to quite a lot of films based on books Snabba cash
really deviates from the source material. I found this very unexpected.
I understand that you can't bring the entire book to the big screen but
there were several changes that I just couldn't grip why were made.
Some of the alterations didn't make sense at all to me, some felt
clearly worsening. So far that a couple of the character felt vastly
different to their counterparts in the book. Rather than based on the
book I would call this film inspired by it. Maybe they decided to take
the parts they liked in the book and make something out of it that was
Some time later I saw the film again and I decided to try be more objective, not keep irritating myself over the changes. Take it for what it is and not what it should be. I found it a very well made film. The thing they have really captured is the atmosphere and tone, which really feel like what the book also did so great. The music is well chosen and helps greatly to create the right feel. The acting is good, there are some parts mainly in the beginning which feel somewhat stiff and not entirely satisfactory but it's just minor complaints. Joel Kinnaman is pretty much as I imagined JW, however the actor which makes the best performance is Dragomir Mrsic even if he doesn't feel quite like the character in the book. I was very surprised in a positive way by the action. Impressively done with great suspense. Still the script is not without flaws. The pace is fast so one might not catch how everything works. There are some plot points from the book that are mentioned briefly but then not explored further. I think they should have simply left these parts out since they come to feel somewhat like plot holes. But still it's just small flaws. What I like about script is the dialogue, Las Vegas baby, brilliantly written.
Despite all my complaints Snabba Cash is in the end a very well made and greatly entertaining film. Sure it could definitively be better at some parts but flaws aside it is overall satisfying. As a film on it's own Snabba Cash is good 7/10 as an adaptation of the book not quite satisfactory.
In this neo-noir, a poor, naive, Swedish business student who wants
money, if only to be able to romance a rich girl and hold his head high
among her set and parents, uses his knowledge of banking to get in
cahoots with a gang that's trying to make it in the drug business in
Sweden. This gang is Muslim-Albanian, and the "hero" (Joel Kinnaman)
cements his entry by saving one of its key figures (Matias Varela) from
death at the hands of a rival Serbian gang, represented mainly by
The script, whether intentionally or not, brings out, although it could have gone even more deeply into this, that in the nature of it, an illegal business differs vastly from a legal business. Kinnaman does not realize this. He goes at it with the more or less standard values of cooperation and trust. He finds out that this simply does not work. Much of the story is about the hot water he finds himself in as the competing gangs move forward toward the importation of a cocaine shipment. Before the movie is over, he doesn't know whom to trust or how exactly to extricate himself or deal with the criminal minds that he is involved with.
The movie goes out of its way to humanize the criminals and introduce in the viewer ambiguous feelings toward the criminals, so that the naive viewer will also be having reactions that to some extent mirror those of Kinnaman. A more experienced viewer will step back and realize what makes a bad guy a bad guy, and that a bad guy can be just as charming or treat his dog just as kindly as a good guy.
The acting was good. The story telling was a bit demanding at first. The viewer is not spoon fed. This added to the movie, I think.
My main criticism is that the "hero" was too naive and/or too paralyzed to know what to do. The script recognized this and tried to foreclose the most obvious lever at his disposal, which was the bank laundering arrangement that he had provided the gang.
I thought that the script was ambitious, took some risks, and had some novelty. That and the acting make this a pretty good film.
This is a stylish, intelligent thriller with good camera-work and lots of visual style. I liked the way the movie shows international crime as a very ugly business, without rules and with lots of violence. The way a greedy young student is slowly drawn into a world that is clearly not his, is intriguing. Some elements make this film stand out above the usual Hollywood-flicks - for example the way one of the criminals treats his little daughter. This is a nice thriller that doesn't slow down, with lots of action scenes and twists. It could have done without the hardly believable love story, but I can imagine the director needed to compensate the violence with some softer scenes.
JW (Joel Kinnaman) is a poor economics student who is dabbing in
questionable money making schemes while faking a double life with his
rich acquaintances. He falls for the rich Sophie (Lisa Henni). Jorge
(Matias Varela) has just escaped from jail. JW and Jorge is working for
the Albanian drug lord Abdulkarim who is trying to put together a big
shipment. Meanwhile Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) is a Serbian enforcer. The
Serbian are going to war with Abdulkarim but Mrado has a new
responsibility in his daughter and he's planning a final score to get
out of it all.
Mrado says that people start becoming greedy and scared. That's what I love about this story. Everybody is a bastard. Nobody is safe. JW thinks he's smarter than he actually is, and he never truly understands that he's expendable. I love how Jorge breaks it all down for JW, and the two men's complicated relationship. There are no angels here, just survivors.
Easy Money (or Snabba Cash to give it its original Swedish title) was
originally released in Sweden in 2010, a full three years before it
reached the UK, by which time the sequel (snappily entitled Snabba Cash
II) had already been out for a year in Scandinavia. Perhaps that at
least ensures we won't need to wait too long to find out what happens
to the surviving characters.
With three strands that entwine into a single story, Easy Money is a violent, at times bloody, peek under the tarpaulin that covers the Serbian mafia and its nefarious dealings with drugs and murder. JW (Joel Kinnaman) is a clean-cut law student with money issues until the opportunity to run drugs ends the former and resolves the latter. With a girlfriend, Sophie (Lisa Henni), from the right side of town and employers from the wrong side, his life becomes complicated and very tense. Caught between Jorge (Mateas Varela), a fugitive on the run from the cops and the Serbian mafia, and Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) a mafia hard man, JW winds up in some very deep do-do indeed
Easy Money carves up the screen in a similar vein to this year's Dead Man Down but lacks the panache. Where as Colin Farrell's film had a certain smoothness to the violence, this is gritty and unfinished. It feels a little rushed at times but that's part of the attraction. You really don't want to mess with any of these characters. Ever.
It's very easy to like JW, even though everything screams that he's a fool who is willingly corrupting himself. It doesn't take a genius to work out there'll be serious consequences come the end of the film, but for whom? Kinnaman, who boosted his international profile with The Killing, is on excellent form here. Think Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Match Point only better. Much, much better.
The characters are rounded well enough for us to step back from them but not so much that they appear sculpted film characters rather than raw, unpleasant lowlifes who'll blow you away if it's ever a threat to their survival.
Easy Money is always compelling and the two-hour running time whizzes by in an instant. Alas, by sheer dint of it being in foreign language, it is unlikely to garner much of an audience in the UK and USA; I was the sole occupant of the cinema last night and, whilst it was a joy for me, it doesn't bode well for the chances of the sequel hitting Bristol.
For the philistines who are unable to watch and read the screen simultaneously, Easy Money is good enough to have been awarded an unnecessary Hollywood remake staring Zac Effron. I have nothing against Effron, on the contrary, he impressed me in The Paperboy last year, it's just that Hollywood does have a tendency to take excellent foreign language films and mutilate them. Disagree? Compare and contrast Let The Right One In with Let Me In, or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and its remake, or the Hollywood adaptation of TV's The Killing, or
When will Hollywood learn? Stop remaking the great films and TV series and take a look at those that should have been good but bombed. I'm not judging the remake of Easy Money before the cameras even start rolling but, take it from me, it's unlikely to improve on the original. It's certainly no date movie, but a gritty thriller that will happily consume any Friday night.
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When I first watched this I had no idea this was going to become a
trilogy. I'm pretty sure the original filmmakers didn't expect this to
become one either. I didn't feel there was something impending that
would spawn two sequels to this. Nothing serious at least, because
(almost) every movie could be followed up by something.
The main actor here is really good and has to pull off a really vicious and mean turn. But he succeeds in doing so. The action is more than decent, but it's more the thrill and the overall sense the movie embodies that will get you on the edge of your seat (probably). Good acting overall of course and a very good direction (no wonder Hollywood called and the director went on to work with Denzel Washington on Safe House)
Director, Daniel Espinosa, attempts to recreate the success of Jens Lapidus' novel, Snabba Cash (Easy Money). Maria Karisson was challenged with writing the screenplay, while Lapidus supplied insight for the manuscript. The film was originally released in 2010 and has now finally made its way to the states after several American film companies hashed it out for the rights. Expect sequels in the near future.
Johan "JW" Westland (Joel Kinnaman) is a student at the Stockholm School of Economics, who also secretly moonlights as a cabbie for Abdulkarim (Mahmut Suvakci), to make extra cash. When JW isn't driving a cab or studying he's, partying with the rich and powerful and goes out of his way to appear as one of them with his style of dress and charismatic demeanor. When Abdulkarim approaches JW with an opportunity to make some fast cash, he can't resist.
JW is tasked with delivering Jorge Salinas (Matias Padin Varela), who recently escaped prison, to Abdulkarim. Upon arriving at their rendezvous point, JW discovers that Jorge is being followed by Mrado Slovovic (Dragonir Mrsic) and must think fast if he is to save Jorge, whom he never met, from an uncertain death and collect his bankroll. He succeeds, impressing both Jorge and Abdulkarim, and is given the opportunity to work with them both in the drug trade they're attempting to get off the ground. Soon he is faced with the difficulty of managing two lives, one of which includes new girlfriend, Sophie (Lisa Henni).
JW is clearly the entity Easy Money revolves around in this action film, though,filmmakers Espinosa and Karisson attempt to reveal secondary story-lines with Jorge and Mradoa feat which may have been less cumbersome in the novel. The film rotates between the three characters, but you can't help but feel cheated due to the incompleteness of their backstories. They do succeed in humanizing the three to some degree. Hence, Mrado is the hardened killer who finds himself caring for his young daughter unexpectedly and allowing his paternal instincts to take over. Likewise, Jorge vows to care for his family once the big drug deal is completed.
Espinosa directs a suspenseful film that doesn't solely depend on action sequences to entertain. Kinnaman gives a charming performance as JW. Varela and Mrsic both give noteworthy performances. By far, JW is the most complex of the characters. At first glance, it seems he is motivated by money, but it becomes clear that a sense of belonging is also a factor. His growing friendship with Jorge begins to impact his decisions and his relationship with Sophie. In fact, the bond of friendship plays a big part in the films questionable ending. However, it again appears the character development between the two lacked the necessary foundation as the outcome attempts to support. JW does evolve throughout this tale, but for the better or for the worse is left up to the viewer. Minus a few hiccups, Easy Money is engrossing and worthy of a look.
Fortunately, thriller is not dead. Hollywood thriller is a desiccated corpse. It somehow keeps plodding stealing good ideas from around a world. This movie is awaiting a remake in Hollywood. Can't wait to see that disaster. What makes this Swedish thriller fresh and original is the hefty dose of reality and interest in it's characters. They are not just a bunch of crooks and psychopaths, they are human too. Young Swede with expensive tastes and little money, Chilean criminal with dreams and the Serbian enforcer with an 8-year daughter to care for. We see the glimpse of what they are made of. Nothing overly heavy and preachy, but just enough to fell real and plausible. And that is what Hollywood doesn't do. The audience they aim for, pimply, computer game addicted, 14 year olds just don't have the patience for anything else apart from explosions and non-stop action. So, thankfully comes this brilliant flick with 2 sequels to follow.
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