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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Easy Money (2010)

Easy Money (2010)

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Released 7-Nov-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-x 6 for other Madman films
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 119:17
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Daniel Espinosa
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Joel Kinnaman
Matias Varela
Dragomir Mrsic
Lisa Henni
Mahmut Suvakci
Jones Danko
Lea Stojanov
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Jon Ekstrand


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     JW (Joel Kinnaman) is a business student in Stockholm from a working class background who is mixing with the wealthy set and living way beyond his means. To make ends meet JW drives a taxi and does various courier jobs for a crime syndicate run by Abdulkarin (Mahmut Suvakci). Jorge (Matias Varela) has just escaped from prison and is on the run. Jorge wants to make one last big score and has contacts in Germany who can organise a massive importation of cocaine into Sweden, a deal Abdulkarin is happy to fund. Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic) is an enforcer for the Serbian mafia run by Radovan (Dejan Cukic). Radovan is aware of Jorge’s potential drug deal and sends Mrado to find Jorge. When JW saves Jorge from Mrado, Abdulkarin is impressed by his initiative and brings JW into the drug deal to help launder the money.

     The lives of JW, Jorge and Mrado intersect as the drug deal moves towards fruition. Each has additional problems. At a party JW meets Sophie (Lisa Henni), a beautiful blonde from a wealthy family; they fall in love and JW has to keep from her his humble origins as well as his criminal activities. Jorge’s sister is pregnant and Jorge wants to help her and her baby escape the poverty of their own upbringing. Mrado unexpectantly finds himself responsible for his eight year old daughter Lovisa when his ex-wife has a drug overdose.

     As the drug deal comes closer a war breaks out between the rival crime syndicates with shootings and bombings. JW begins to realise that he is way over his head in a world of organised crime and violence and his mind, his life and his relationship with Sophie begins to unravel. Then Mrado offers JW a way out, and when the drug shipment arrives the stage is set for an explosive and bloody climax.

     Easy Money (original title Snabba cash) is based upon the best-selling novel by Jens Lapidus and directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House). It is another in an increasing line of interesting crime thrillers from Scandinavia including the Millennium trilogy and Headhunters. What distinguishes these films, including Easy Money, is the concentration upon character driven plots.

     Easy Money is not slick in the way of a Hollywood crime thriller with fast passed action, stunts and explosions in search of a plot. There is action in Easy Money, but as it is filmed using the fast editing and jerky cam style it is hard to see what is actually going on and it is probably the least interesting parts of the film. Instead the film takes its time to allow us to get to know JW, Jorge and Mrado as individuals and so appreciate their dilemmas, while also using the music of Jon Ekstrand nicely to build tension.

     Indeed, each of the protagonists in Easy Money have their own stories and motivations, based upon family and relationships. Mrado’s world changes dramatically when he has to take care of his daughter, Jorge’s when he finds out his sister is pregnant and abandoned by her husband, JW’s when he meets Sophie. Their stories in Easy Money play out simultaneously, the film intercutting frequently between them, but as each world is different, and the three so easily distinguishable, it is always possible to know who we are with at each point. In this the film is also well served by the actors, who are all excellent with perhaps the pick being the solid performance of Dragomir Mrsic as the enforcer Mrado. Apparently he was not a professional actor but a former bank robber, and so brings a deal of verisimilitude to the role!

     Easy Money is an intelligent, interesting, character driven crime thriller. If you appreciate good characters in a crime thriller, or if you have enjoyed any of the other Scandinavian entrants in the genre, Easy Money is well worth a look. Based upon the success of Easy Money, Snabba Cash II has already been made in Sweden, using the same characters and actors but a different director.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Easy Money is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     I don’t think the film got a theatrical release in Australia; if it did I didn’t see it. This is relevant, as it is one of the poorest looking films I have seen on DVD in a while and my feeling is that this is not the DVD authoring but how the film was intended to look.

     Easy Money is a film which uses moving hand-held cameras a lot and which frequently poses the actors in front of bright lights leading to excessive lens glare on numerous occasions; see 16:03 or 45:44 for only a couple of examples. If this was the filmmakers’ intention, the result is a very soft picture, although close-ups of faces were fine. The film was also looks overly bright leading to reduced contrast, flat colours, light skin tones and indistinct shadow detail. Blacks however were OK.

     The print also showed a fair amount of grain, aliasing on vertical surfaces and some ghosting with motion. Marks however were absent.

     The layer change occurred 61:21 at a scene change and resulted in a slight pause.

    English subtitles are in a clean yellow font and are easy to read. They are in English English and I did not notice and spelling or grammatical errors. The only error was when the film’s title Sabba cash appears: it is not subtitled as Easy Money and instead it says Title!

     If this is the way the filmmakers intended the film to look, I can only say that to me it is distracting, drawing attention away from the characters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 Kbps, although there are sections of dialogue in other languages as well, including English.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand. The surrounds are prominent in party scenes with music and noise and at other times were used for music and ambient effects. This is not excessive, and the surround use is effective. The sub-woofer supported the music mostly. Around 67:15 there was a slight distortion in the music.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     The original music by Jon Ekstrand was used very well to build tension. It was nicely represented in the mix.

     The audio track was generally good.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     On start-up there were trailers for Paul Kelly: Stories of Me (2:13) and Storm Surfers 3D (2:52). They must be skipped and cannot be selected from the menu.

Theatrical Trailer (1:53)

Madman Propaganda

     Trailers for The Hunter (1:45), The Woman in the Fifth (1:41), The Company Men (2:26) and Last Ride (1:57).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There does not seem to be a version of Easy Money currently available in either Region 1 US or Region 2 UK. There are various European releases, including a Region 0 from Finland with cast and crew interviews, but without English subtitles. I cannot find any reviews so I don’t know if the video is any different to our release.

Summary

     Easy Money, directed by Daniel Espinosa, is an intelligent, interesting, character driven crime thriller from Sweden. If you appreciate good characters in a crime thriller, or if you have enjoyed any of the other Scandinavian entrants in the genre, Easy Money is well worth a look.

     The video is distracting, the audio fine. A trailer is the only relevant extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, January 18, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE