Opening up with an interrogation of the hapless, bloodstained Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum), Jackpot (Arme Riddere) unfolds around a group four unlikely friends and their 1.7million kroner win through a football lottery scheme.
Right from the start, Detective Solør (Henrik Mestad) struggles to believe Oscar’s absurd tale. As a non-criminal working with released convicts, Oscar is accused of having a mind similar to criminals’, allowing him to think like one.
Oscar’s three workmates, unlike himself, are of the criminal-calibre and their uneasy relationship with one another is reflected in their inability to trust. Throw in over a million and half kroner into the equation and the quartet’s bond is pushed to its limits.
The final shootout happens in the aptly named Pink Heaven strip club. All associates are killed, except Oscar who is pulled from beneath a voluptuous stripper, alive, and holding a shotgun. This conclusion is played out a couple of times during the film, near the beginning and again towards the end, and anchors all the different elements of the film.
Filmed in a Tarantino-esque way, with similarities to the early Coen Brothers, Jackpot delivers a visual spectacle: not to be taken lightly with the lashings of blood and body-part accompaniment. The constant double-crossing of the characters, the near failures, and the sense of continuous dilemma brings a serious amount of thrill-factor to this film. The dialogue is laced with humour, which dilutes the slap-stick gore scenes, making them both palatable and tolerable.
The concept of gambling and the study of the consequential relationships have been played out in films such as Smokin’ Aces, and Snatch. Jackpot takes the brutality and generic thug villain to an extreme level and, admittedly, this film is not going to be for everyone – almost certainly not for the squeamish. But as far as Skandi-thriller’s go, Jackpot’s success definitely reflects that of Headhunters, Nesbø’s previous hit, and is just as enjoyable to watch.
Hellum does a good job as the hapless Svendsen. His unassuming presence is magnified by his role as a likely accomplice to the bad guys, and the final twist regarding Svendsen’s character carries a feel-good factor; similar to the end of Headhunters.
The lack of originality means that Jackpot won’t become a classic, and the subtitles will certainly put off some people off. But finding humour in a non-comedy, and the telling of this sick and twisted tale with slapstick gags will appeal to the lovers of gore-fests.
A bit of a gamble, but well worth it.
Watch the trailer here:
Jackpot is due for release in UK cinemas on the 10th August 2012