Scandinavian Film Festival Review: Easy Money: Life Deluxe (Snabba cash III) (Sweden, 2013)

  • Amy Nancarrow
  • July 8, 2014
  • Comments Off on Scandinavian Film Festival Review: Easy Money: Life Deluxe (Snabba cash III) (Sweden, 2013)

Snabba Cash III Tre Vänner Produktions AB

Here it is: the final installment in the Easy Money franchise: Life Deluxe. Old favourites are back, old scores need to be settled, and new players find themselves drawn into Sweden’s dark criminal underbelly.

JW (Joel Kinnaman) is on the run after his successful robbery at the conclusion of Hard to Kill, and has made it to Los Angeles to search for his missing sister Camilla (Maja Christenson). Jorge (Matias Varela) has served time in prison and now has a solid job, but is too busy not learning from his mistakes, and is planning a huge heist to earn him enough money to leave Sweden. His one-time partner-in-crime Nadja (Madeleine Martin) has been given a new job and a new identity, but still carries a torch for Jorge. Meanwhile, crime boss Radovan (Dejan Cukic) deals with a new threat, and his daughter Natalie (Malin Buska) is dragged into his conflict, whilst undercover agent Martin (Martin Wallström) finds himself rising in Radovan’s ranks.

Life Deluxe, whilst centering on the people we’ve spent three and a half hours with, is quite a different film to its predecessors. It’s more polished, losing some of the gritty realism that made the first film so compelling. JW isn’t featured much (Kinnaman would have approximately 10 minutes of screen time, if that); instead most of the action centres on Jorge and Radovan. What the film does succeed in, however, is the idea that these people aren’t all bad. They’ve made some bad choices; some more than others (I’m looking at you, Radovan) but they’re very much multi-layered characters. This level of quality, three films in, is incredibly rare, and perhaps that’s the greatest success of the Easy Money trilogy – it does what vary little franchises can do. The direction, under third director Jens Jonsson, is well done; Jorge’s bank robbery scene is the highlight of the film, as Jonsson uses one long tracking shot to cover the entire robbery, never wavering from Jorge, even if the action takes place elsewhere. The trilogy is neatly tied up, with the fates of our main characters revealed, although at two hours running time, Life Deluxe drags in certain parts.

The main theme with this film is the concept of building a better life: Jorge wants to complete his heist to escape Sweden and leave his depressing criminal life; JW wants to finally solve his sister’s disappearance and have the peace that both of them deserve; Radovan wants to build a better life for his daughter by getting her out of his business and moving back to Serbia. This need, this single-minded pursuit, it ends up blinding our main characters to the people that betray them, and yet again the criminal world threatens to swallow them whole. It’s a testament to the series’ quality that this reinforced message doesn’t get old; the idea that darkness seeps in and overtakes like poison, and changes you for the worse, no matter how hard you fight it.

It’s great that we’re getting access to brilliant films like the Easy Money series; if it weren’t for the Scandinavian film festival, I’d have never come across this gritty, compelling series of films. It’s been an entertaining, nail-biting, adrenalin-pumping five and a half hours, but the Easy Money series has opened my eyes to a whole new world of cinema, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.

Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Easy Money: Life Deluxe will screen alongside Easy Money and Easy Money: Hard to Kill as part of the Scandinavian Film Festival, touring Australia in July. For more details head HERE.

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