Despite double and triple crosses, director Daniél Espinosa keeps his characters front and center.
It begins with a prison break by Jorge (Matias Padin Varela), a small-time crook with big-time aspirations who, with his Swedish-Arab partners, wants to arrange a cocaine deal that will break the Serbian hold on the local drug trade.
Bully boy Mafia enforcer Mrado (Dragomir Mrsic), who is entrusted with a doting 8-year-old daughter, is in pursuit.
Joining the fray is J.W. (Joel Kinnaman), a poor but ambitious economics student trying to parlay his smarts and GQ looks into a big score.
The double, triple, and quadruple crosses mount up, but director Daniél Espinosa and his team of screenwriters never lose sight of the fact that these crimes are carried out by people and not by androids.
Character is action, Scott Fitzgerald once wrote. It certainly is here.
Grade: B+ Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content, and some sexuality.