Before there was Safe House there was Snabba Cash for director Daniél Espinosa. And the facility he displays with telling the story based on a novel by Jens Lapidus makes it easy to see why this director of Chilean and Swedish origin was tapped to direct a Hollywood action movie.
The film is set at the intersection of the lives of three men: JW (Joel Kinnaman, best known for his role in the TV show The Killing), Jorge (Matias Varela) and Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic). It goes something like this: Jorge has escaped from prison and is the main man in a lucrative drug deal. Mrado is a Serbian gangster who is suddenly saddled with the responsibility of caring for his young daughter and is caught in the turf war between his Serbian gang boss and the Arabs who are the financiers of the drug-running operation. JW drives a cab for Abdulkarim (Mahmut Suvakci) who also happens to be the man overseeing the drug business. Clear so far?
The rest of it is not groundbreaking in terms of narratives about what happens when bad guys decide to profit from their bad ways, and rookies try to climb the net worth ladder without expecting to pay a price.
What is cool about Snabba Cash is the look of the film—cinematographer Aril Wretblad’s beautifully burnt out photography needs to be seen to be believed; and several montage sequences (the film is edited by Theis Schmidt) that convey information in a slightly jumbled order that nevertheless does a great job of invoking mood and sense of place.
Snabba Cash was a pleasure to look at and I am a sucker for movies like that. It is put together with a confidence that is all the more impressive when you realize that this is the director’s debut feature. Oh and lest I forget to mention, the film met with Martin Scorsese’s approval.
Final Analysis: Great to look, and clearly Swedish producers do not have a problem greenlighting a film where dialogue is spoken in at least three distinct languages. I am envious of that fact.
My Advice: If you are in the mood for a stylish flick, rent this one as soon as you can.