Review: EASY MONEY (SNABBA CASH) (EUFF 2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 17 November 2013


EASY MONEY is well-acted and relentless, but this Swedish crime thriller suffers from bloated direction.

Long before Swedish-born director Daniel Espinosa made his Hollywood debut in 2012's SAFE HOUSE (read my review here), he was already a popular filmmaker in his native country with EASY MONEY (also known as SNABBA CASH). Originally released in 2010 and finally made it here to our local cinema in the conjunction of 14th European Union Film Festival (EUFF), EASY MONEY was highly popular in Sweden and caught a lot of attention among international distributors. Upon finally watching it, EASY MONEY proves to be quite engaging, even though it doesn't turns out to be as great as I expected.

EASY MONEY centers on three primary characters. First is escaped convict Jorge (Matias Padin Varela) who gets involved with a gang of European Muslim criminals, led by Abdulkarim (Mahmut Suvakci), in a large cocaine deal. Then there's Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic), a Serbian hitman working for the Yugoslavian mafia, who is sent by the boss Radovan (Dejan Cukic) to take care of Jorge. Finally, there's JW (Joel Kinnaman), a handsome and bright student who studies in a business school. He drives a cab to make money so he can hang out with his wealthy friends. But he's about to make more money when he collaborates with Abdulkarim.
Director Daniel Espinosa is clever enough to use jump-cut editing style to tell three interconnected storylines involving three primary characters that often gives a sense of cinematic urgency. Jon Ekstrand's synthesizer-heavy score, in the meantime, helps to elevate the tense moments throughout the movie. Maria Karlsson's screenplay (which was adapted from Jens Lapidus' novel) injects a few depths within its crime-thriller genre convention with themes that includes parenthood, naivety, trust, betrayal, greed and corruption.

Cast-wise, all three main actors -- Matias Padin Varela, Dragomir Mrsic and Joel Kinnaman -- delivers rock-solid performances. And same goes with other supporting cast, which includes Mahmut Suvakci and even Lea Stojanov, who is simply wonderful as Mrado's 8-year-old daughter, Lovisa.

Clocking at two-hour long, Espinosa's relentless direction tends to get weary as the movie progresses. Some of the scenes feel overlong that desperately needed for a good trim. Then there's the disappointing payoff in the shootout finale. It feels somewhat anticlimactic, while lacking a certain sense of kinetic flair at the same time. It doesn't helps either when Espinosa ruins the shootout finale with his nearly-indistinguishable shaky camerawork.

Despite most of its flaws, EASY MONEY remains a fairly worthwhile effort. A sequel already released last year in Sweden as well as some part of the countries.

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