Easy Money (2010)
By: Rip on August 22, 2014 | Comments
Madman | Region 4, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | Swedish DD 5.1 | 119 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Matias Varela, Dragomir Mrsic, Lisa Henni, Mahmut Suvakci
Screenplay: Maria Karlsson, Daniel Espinosa, Hassan Loo Sattarvandi
Country: Sweden
JW (Swedish thespian Joel Kinnaman seen recently in the Robocop reboot) is a student working illegally as a taxi driver, but living out a strange double life. Spending a lot of time in Stockholm's most upmarket neighbourhood drinking and enjoying the upperclass lifestyle, JW is living far beyond his means and after becoming involved with rich girl Sophie (Lisa Henni), he's forced into a put up or shut up scenario. In order to facilitate making real the false lifestyle he leads, JW gets involved in the murky world of drug smuggling and money laundering. And before he knows it, he's in way over his head…

Director Daniel Espinosa's Easy Money is an intricately plotted crime film with a most interesting focus on character, as opposed to standard gangster movie action. The film is intense, but always completely rooted in reality. As JW descends deeper in to the world of organised crime, we meet some rather fascinating criminal types. For example, one drug lord is forced to care for his young daughter due to the mother's narcotic addiction, and while the man is capable of horrific violence, he's also a loving father. It's this sort of detail that sets Easy Money apart from the type of film we might see come out of the US. As the protagonist becomes greedier and more desperate, we watch his transformation from a simple guy trying to get ahead to that of a hardened criminal. The film also does a very effective job of wrapping up the many plot threads, leading to a satisfying if decidedly downbeat conclusion.

There has been an almost constant stream of Scandinavian crime thrillers recently and many of them, such as Headhunters, The Millennium Trilogy and Denmark's The Killing mini-series', have been very strong. Easy Money is yet another and well worth your time.
The Disc
Madman Entertainment's DVD of Easy Money is presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 2:35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It's also a difficult transfer to judge, as it seems overly bright which results in the picture looking rather flat and soft. Oddly, close-ups of the actors' faces, etc, seem fine with plenty of detail and blacks are also decent. All up, I suspect this may be the way the film was shot, as opposed to any authoring problem. There is grain, and quite a bit of it, and unfortunately occurrences of aliasing and ghosting were detected. Subtitles are presented in a yellow font and are easy to read.

The audio track is given in Swedish 5.1 and is quite effective. Dialogue is clear and Jon Ekstrand's great score is well presented. Though there are moments of action, the film is mostly dialogue driven and the subwoofer handles it all well, but is generally there to support the music.

Unfortunately, extras consist only of a half dozen trailers for other Madman titles, as well as the the film's theatrical trailer.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Personally, I didn't think Easy Money was quite as good as something like the film version of Jo Nesbo's Headhunters, but it is still very good and worth seeking out by lovers of crime flicks. This R4 release isn't the best when it comes to picture quality, but is far from being unwatchable and comes recommended.
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