Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Swedish Double Life

Joel Kinnaman, who is Swedish and American, is best known stateside for playing the character Holder on AMC's show The Killing.  I was sucked into that show before it was canceled due mostly to Kinnaman's embodiment of Holder, a character who, as a recovering addict and newly minted police detective, had much swagger.  Now that I've seen the 2010 Swedish film Easy Money (aka Snabba Cash), I know that Kinnaman himself has much swagger and is an actor on the rise.

In Easy Money, Kinnaman plays JW, a business student of modest means who lives a double life in order to fit in with a wealthy crowd of friends.  When his side job as a cab driver opens the door to a more lucrative opportunity with a local drug dealer, the lure of what appears to be "easy money" is too strong to resist.  JW's story intertwines with two other characters--Jorge, who has just escaped from prison, and Mrado, a Serbian mafioso who suddenly finds himself balancing gangster life with single fatherhood.  As all three get caught up in a big drug deal, things go horribly, unexpectedly, and violently wrong.  Who knew neutral Sweden had such a seedy, criminal underbelly?  Even though JW is the main character, the audience becomes vested in all three characters and their motivations.  Such engagement is a strong testament to the writing, acting, and directing.  If you're going to spend time watching a crime thriller, it should be engaging and smart.  Easy Money fits the bill.

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