JW (Joel Kinnaman) is a too-good-looking provincial seeking to upgrade his class standing in Stockholm. Presented by Martin Scorsese, “Easy Money” compares with “Goodfellas” and “Gangs of New York” as a saga of aspiration. JW goes to business school. On the side, he drives a taxi and sells term papers. His econ prof ends a lecture on the current fiscal scene: “Who will benefit from this tragedy? Will it be any of you?” Nicknamed “Mr. Brains” by a South American confederate, JW gets out of his depth and over his head with a failing bank; Serb, Arab and Albanian bad guys; and cocaine planted inside cabbage heads and dog guts. His model-perfect face finds a dozen ways to convey degrees of worry. When he falls for a posh gal, an upper-class B-school pal offers a tip: “Stick to your own kind.” The mechanics of the deal share plot time with that crime genre standby: how to make a living illegally and belong to a real family, no the kind that breaks laws and bones. Fathers in “Easy Money” want to be better than the bastards who beat them. A crook brings his eight-year-old daughter to work. Brothers are devoted to their sisters. Daniel Espinosa (“Safe House”) directs this fleet crime exercise based on the 2006 novel “Snabba Cash” by Jens Lapidus. “Easy Money” ends with a sequel-cueing close-up of JW’s tattoo that names his sister. She has been missing four years. Police consider it a cold case. Sounds like one of those Swedish tattoo thrillers about woman-killers of wealth. With Matias Padin Varela, Dragomir Mrsic, Lisa Henni, Mahmut Suvakci, Jones Danko. 119m. (Bill Stamets)
“Easy Money” opens Friday at the Music Box.