Easy Money Daniel Espinosa

Easy Money Daniel Espinosa
6
Adapted from the novel of the same name from lawyer-turned-author Jens Lapidus, Easy Money has the breadth and scope of narrative texturing and thematic death worthy of the promotional taglines touting it as the "best underworld film in years" adjacent a bold Martin Scorsese endorsement above the title. It's a generational story about the lure of instant gratification anchored by international relations and the ever-looming inevitability of implosion. Economics student JW (Joel Kinnaman) lives a double-life playing chauffeur for underground drug runners in order to maintain the guise of upper crust snob for new girlfriend Sophie (Lisa Henni). Initially simple, his involvement with Chilean prison escapee Jorge (Matias Padin Varela), a mommy's boy with a penchant for winding up in shitty scenarios, involves him in the underground crime world, removing his ability to simply walk away. Complicating matters is Serbian hit man Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) — a man that is incidentally the father of a precocious, overly aware eight-year-old girl — whose vendetta with JW's boss and Jorge results in many scenes of bloodshed. This story, while initially standard, veers off into multiple thematic arcs and tangents, which would surely work in the context of a novel, but in cinematic form leave everything feeling exceedingly engineered. Mrado's heavy-handed doting on his daughter and repeat assurances of building a better future for her don't quite meld with the "don't look back or they'll catch up" ethos of the rest of the film. JW is left in the middle as a dolt coming to terms with the breadth of his poor decision-making and, being a bit of a tool, doesn't anchor the heart of the story with much conviction, as portrayed by the suave and aesthetically appropriate, but emotionally void Kinnaman. Similarly, Espinosa's vision is more provincial than thought out, having the hand-held grittiness of a Swedish thriller and occasional flash stylization to suggest intent, but little visual trajectory or assemblage to make this all-encompassing story feel like a cohesive package. Still, the experience of Easy Money is entertaining for sheer surface value; it's just a shame it never goes anywhere and is far less profound than the self-serious tone suggests. No supplements are included with the DVD, which is standard for overseas home video releases. (eOne)