Daniel Espinosa didn’t make much of a dent in the thick skulls of American action fans with this winter’s Safe House, but he gets another at-bat with the domestic release of Snabba Cash (in English, that’s Easy Money), a loopy 2010 Swedish heist hit that shows off his mastery of mood and apparent love for characters struggling with daddy issues.
Joel Kinnaman, whose Stateside profile’s on the rise thanks to AMC’s underrated The Killing, is JW, a whip-smart business student of modest means who masquerades as a rich kid in a posh, privileged crowd. Longing to actually hold the stacks he pretends to have, he agrees to start running coke for Abdulkarim (Mahmut Suvakci), who employs JW as a moonlight cabbie. Starting off sunny, the bold criminal gig is rapidly enveloped in gloom, with JW’s complicated dealings with escaped con Jorge (Matias Verela), Serbian gangster Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) and rich girl Sophie (Lisa Henni) stretching the well-intentioned not-so-criminal in a million directions.
Easy Money proves that Espinosa understands pace and has style for days, but he fixates so much on his characters’ emoting that more than a few scenes are left over-rendered. A tiny shot of signature Scandinavian restraint would do him well.