File:Snabba Cash (film).jpg|
|Directed by||Daniel Espinosa|
|Produced by||Fredrik Wikström|
|Screenplay by||Maria Karlsson|
|Story by||Jens Lapidus|
|Release date(s)||15 January 2010|
|Running time||124 minutes|
Snabba Cash, known as Easy Money in English, is a Swedish thriller film directed by Daniel Espinosa that was released on 15 January 2010. It is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Jens Lapidus. Joel Kinnaman stars in the lead role of Johan "JW" Westlund, a rather poor man living a double life in the upper class areas of Stockholm. After meeting a wealthy girl he is enticed into the world of organized crime and begins to sell cocaine to afford his expensive lifestyle. Snabba Cash was well received by critics and was a hit at the box office.
Two sequels to the film will be filmed in 2011 and the first is scheduled to be released in 2012, followed by the second in 2013. Warner Bros. holds the rights to an American remake of Snabba Cash, which is set to star Zac Efron.
Johan "JW" Westlund is a man living in Stockholm, originally from the countryside but feigning the appearance of a "Stekare" (in Swedish parlance, a lifestyle based on flaunting one's apparent wealth), actually leading a double life driving taxi illegally to finance his expensive life on Stureplan. A romance with the upper class girl Sophie leads to him being enticed into the world of organized crime. Abdulkarim, who is running the taxi business, offers JW to begin selling cocaine.
Jorge Salinas Barrio is a Chilean man who went to prison after being caught in the drug business. He has now escaped and is on the run from the police. Jorge knows everything about cocaine. He has a plan: to revenge those who snitched on him, among them Yugoslavian mafia boss Radovan Kranjic, and to make one final cocaine delivery and then leave the country for good.
Mrado Slovovic, a hitman who runs errands for the Yugoslavian mafia, is sent by Radovan on a mission to take care of Jorge. At the same time has to struggle with taking care of his five-year-old daughter, who he is forced to take with him on his job.
These three characters cross paths through their dreams about quick earnings. Once JW and Abdulkarim have the cocaine sales going they want to expand. Abdulkarim has heard of Jorge, who has at the time made an escape. The word on the street is that Jorge has learned everything about the cocaine business while in prison, and thus JW gets an assignment to hire him. Simultaneously Jorge has tried to blackmail the Yugoslavian mafia boss. Mrado has been assigned to make him think otherwise. When JW finally finds Jorge he is laying beaten-up in a forest, courtesy of Mrado. Abdulkarim takes care of Jorge, and they start working together.
Jens Lapidus released the novel Snabba cash in 2006. It received praise from critics and was a success in terms of sales. Ever since it came out, Swedish director Daniel Espinosa dreamed of getting the opportunity to adapt it into a film. The opportunity came only a few years later when he met film producer Fredrik Wikström who asked him to direct the film. Espinosa has said that the book is important to him because of his Chilean roots and because he was raised in the Swedish suburbs. "When I lived in Skogås there were not so many Chileans, so I hung out with Yugoslavians [...] until I was 17 years old. Then a lot of crazy stuff happened and I ended up at Sigtuna with a bunch of upper class brats."
Joel Kinnaman was cast in the lead role of Johan "JW" Westlund. He told Helsingborgs Dagblad that "It is a difficult role and a difficult character to play. I love my character deeply, but he makes a lot of decisions in life that are idiotic and he chooses paths that lead to disaster and that gets unbelievably painful consequences for both him and the people that mean something for him." Filming began in March 2009 in Stockholm. Other shooting locations include Gothenburg and Germany (9–11 June 2009).Svenska Dagbladet that he had seen an early version of the film and "it feels good. The film is based on my book, but is at the same time a story of its own. Naturally my main characters are in it and they have managed to capture the authentic feel, but I haven't written the manuscript, I've only given pointers." Lapidus has written two back-to-back sequels to Snabba cash, which are also to be adapted into films. Filming is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2011 with the same director and cast members. The films will be released in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Snabba Cash was released in Sweden on 15 January 2010. At the Berlin Film Festival film festival that year it raised international interest. The American film studio The Weinstein Company soon acquired the rights, after a bidding war, to distribute the film in the United States, Germany, and Italy. In another bidding war between Warner Bros., Universal Studios, Summit Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, The Weinstein Company, and Mandate Pictures, Warner Bros. won the rights for an American remake. Zac Efron will star in and produce the film. It is supposedly part of a step he is taking towards becoming known as a serious actor and not just a teen heartthrob.
Fredrik Wikström, a producer of Swedish film, will also be a producer on Warner Bros.'s remake. He commented on the hype of the original film in Sweden: "We had a huge hype for the film before anyone had even seen it; everyone was hoping it would be the next Stieg Larsson [a Swedish author whose novels have become successful films]. The film premiered Jan. 15 in Sweden, and the eyes were on us from the start. Somehow a bootleg DVD of the film made it to L.A. and was passed around. We started getting calls. Less than three months later we did the deal with Warner Bros."
Snabba Cash was an instant hit in Sweden with more than 100,000 tickets sold during the film's first weekend in theaters, topping the box office charts. Aftonbladet critic Karolina Fjellborg gave it four out of five stars, commenting that Espinosa "has made a believable, well-acted, nice-looking, and surprisingly thrilling film, with a nerve and a pace that is often missing in Swedish thrillers." She also praised the cast of the film, Kinnaman in particular. Expressen's Miranda Sigander wrote that Kinnaman plays JW "in a natural and convincing way and steals the show with his charisma." Mats Johnson of Göteborgs-Posten gave the film a 3/5 rating for "the realism and the intensity in the best scenes of the film, and for the convincing acting by the main cast members." He added, however, that the film lacks coherence and that the story becomes disjointed because of the constant jumps between the three main characters. Sveriges Television's Jerker Peterson, on the other hand, thought that Espinosa and his writer Maria Karlsson were able to "nicely keep together the straggling story." He gave the film a rating of four out of five and commented that it is "altogether a really sharp thriller and a good start to the Swedish film year."