“Easy Money” is a Swedish thriller thick with drug gangs, double crosses, and desperate men grappling for a way out through the bullet storms that beset them all around.
Classic crime stuff, but in this case distinguished by the emotional connections among the characters and a flickering light of moral consciousness. The movie is a little long, and a little confusing at first (there’s quite a bit of subtitled Serbian and Spanish dialogue in addition to Swedish); but it’s tough and tightly wound, and for the most part gripping.
On its Scandinavian release two years ago, the picture made a star out of Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman, and now we see why. (Kinnaman has since featured in the AMC TV series “The Killing,” and he’s the lead in next year’s “Robocop” remake.) He plays JW, a provincial student at the Stockholm School of Economics. JW longs to become a part of the upscale yuppie culture of the capital city, and he poses as a young man with money. In reality, though, he lives in cramped student housing and drives a taxi at night.
JW’s boss at the taxi company, Abdulkarim (Mahmut Suvakci), is an aspiring cocaine mogul on the side, and he lures JW into the business as a low-level street dealer. JW sees this as a way to make the titular easy money. Naturally, he’s very wrong.