- Last Updated: 11:10 AM, July 13, 2012
- Posted: 10:40 PM, July 12, 2012
In Swedish, Spanish and Serbian, with English subtitles. Running time: 119 minutes. Rated R (graphic violence, profanity, drug abuse). At the Film Forum, Houston Street between Sixth Avenue and Varick Street.
Gritty visuals and a strong central performance elevate the routine crime story at the heart of Sweden’s “Easy Money,” a sort of mash-up of “Goodfellas” and “The Great Gatsby.”
JW (Joel Kinnaman, who has a compellingly icy glow) is a handsome but poor business student and cab driver who manages to insinuate himself into a wealthy clique and cuddle with its prize girl, Sophie (Lisa Henni). When an opportunity to pick up a fare for a drug gang arises, he takes the job — and the opportunity to become the group’s pinstriped accountant and financial manager, for a huge potential stake of the profits. Soon he’s up to his cuff links in blood.
Swedish director Daniel Espinosa, who did this year’s hit “Safe House,” keeps the tension high with queasy, vivid close-ups and a harrowing score, but most of the plot points are silly (why would a major gang hire a novice to launder its money?), as is the film’s attempt to be topical and important by implying that banks are just another form of criminal enterprise. Also, there are too many scenes in which lowlifes complain about their lousy childhoods. There’s no crying in gangland, fellas.