After several years spent working as a criminal defence lawyer Jens Lapidus penned the first volume in the Stockholm Noir trilogy. Instantly successful, the novel would end up being the fourth best selling book in Sweden during 2007. Drawing from observations gained during his career in the legal profession Lapidus moved away the school of Scandinavian crime fiction pioneered by Sjöwall and Wahlöö which focused on the investigator within a narrative that critiqued capitalist society. Concentrating on the criminal’s perspective whilst commentating on aspirational society the author steadfastly refused to demonise lawbreakers, delving deep into their backgrounds to show them as fully fleshed individuals with hopes and dreams they are revealed to be unwitting victims of an economic infrastructure that fetishizes profit .
Instantly captivated by the book’s authenticity, director Daniel Espinosa expressed an interest in adapting it but a few years would pass before a chance meeting with film producer and rights holder Fredrik Wikström allowed the project to become a reality. Hugely popular in Scandinavia the film would lead to two further sequels and an American remake is currently in pre-production.
Student JW (Joel Kinnaman – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Killing, Robocop) lives a schizophrenic life. By day he is enrolled on a business course but at night he parties with the high flying elite in exclusive bars and restaurants. Clearly living beyond his meagre means, a part time job as an occasional mini cab driver is JW’s only source of income. Enraptured by the lure of wealth and attracted to a glamorous heiress he is offered a way to finance his lifestyle by a local gang. Working alongside recently escaped convict Jorge ( Matias Varela – Arne Dahl) JW arranges a one one-off cocaine deal fully intended to use the proceeds to finance a new life but the local mafia has other ideas…
A violent thriller, it interweaves and JW and Jorge’s backgrounds before contrasting, reconciling and then once again placing their relationship in jeopardy. Despite having very little in common they are equally at risk of being discarded by the dangerous criminal fraternity which has become a surrogate family to them both. This mismatched pair may have a better chance of surviving if they betray their compatriots before being discarded and left for dead.
Combining Nordic Noir with the cynicism of the American New Wave, Easy Money creates, or recreates, an all too believable social milieu. Dripping with authenticity the film offers a view of gang culture that could only have been written by someone who deals with criminals on a daily basis.
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A trailer can be viewed here: