Filed Under:

Whatever The Country, No Such Thing As 'Easy Money'

Play associated audio

Easy Money is a fine title for a film, but to truly savor the tang of this top-drawer Scandinavian thriller, try rolling its original Swedish title off your tongue. Say hello to Snabba Cash.

Director Daniel Espinosa starts his splendid crime story all in a rush, throwing us right into the middle of a trio of chaotic situations.

Introduced first is Jorge, a Chilean living in Sweden — in fact in a Swedish prison. Making his escape, Jorge promptly goes into hiding, as much from other local bad guys as from the police.

Next up is Mrado, a violent enforcer for a ruthless Serbian drug cartel that controls the cocaine traffic in Sweden and is willing to do whatever it takes to stay on top.

Though Jorge and Mrado are central to the plot, the film's protagonist is JW, compellingly played by Joel Kinnaman, who went on to star in AMC's The Killing. He's a handsome young man from a poor country family who's smart enough to have gotten a place in Stockholm's top business school.

JW wants a lifestyle he can't afford, and when fate offers him a way into the drug trade, he sees no reason to resist.

Easy Money succeeds because of Espinosa's impressive filmmaking skills; he's a master at the mechanics of motion-picture action, and he's got a facility for building tension and keeping viewers off balance. He's also got an eye for small details, as well as a gift for psychological complexity.

As the worlds of Jorge, Mrado and JW collide, recombine and collide again, and as JW's understanding of who can be counted on shifts, we in the audience are as worried and uncertain as the characters. Only one lesson holds true from start to finish: There is no such thing as easy money. (Recommended)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


High Glamour Infuses A Forbidden Love Affair In 'Carol'

Todd Haynes' new film chronicles a lesbian affair between a middle-aged married woman and a young store clerk. Critic David Edelstein says Carol captures the thrill of a once-forbidden subculture.
WAMU 88.5

Recipes Get A Makeover With GIFs, Science And Emojis

On Food Wednesday, we explore the new ways recipes are being presented, with everything from GIFs to scientific method.


Caught Between A Turkey Leg And A Political Diatribe? We're Here To Help

Nobody wants a side of politics on his or her Thanksgiving table, but it's probably going to happen. Here's some advice to get you through — you may need to buy a duck quacker, though.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.