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aka - Jo Nesbø’s Jackpot
Norway 2011
Directed by
Magnus Martens
86 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Jackpot (2011)

Synopsis: Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum) is found alive amongst the bodies after a mass shooting at a strip club-cum-sex shop. Is he a suspect or witness?

If Guy Ritchie and Aki Kaurismaki had a baby and left it with the Coen brothers to nurse it might well look like Jackpot. Which is to say that Magnus Martens’ film is a mixture of Grand Guignol violence, deadpan absurdity and black comedy. Not an entirely effective one but if those reference points strike a pleasing note with you then it's well worth checking out.

The sire of the film is the Guy Ritchie school of Cockney crime caper. Thus a gaggle of crims, opportunists, and dimwits get swept up in the heady pursuit of a large amount of the folding stuff. The Coens we can thank for devices such as a headless corpse being converted into blood red miniature Christmas trees and a thuggish lout being executed with a nail gun. From Kaursimaki comes the wry sensibilty that favours banal settings and lumpish characters. It’s quite a mixture that moves at a good clip, the body count steadily rising as Oscar relates the chain of events that lead to a wild shooting spree in a sex shop.

It’s not a mixture that is entirely satisfactory as the Kaursimakian fondness for suspended animation conflicts with the Ritchean dynamic, there being some scenes where one involuntarily tends to insert video and audio fx in one’s head in order to amp things up. But there are also some scenes which are gleefully outrageous in their absurdity and work because of the incongruity btween the grotesque and the everyday (one such involving a severed finger in a bowl of Cheezels).

Jackpot (I assume the film is titled in some places as Jo Nesbø’s Jackpot for marketing reason, Nesbø being the best-selling author of the novel on which the film was based) is certainly not a comedy for everyone and even for those for whom it is, probably only in certain moods, but if the stars align, chances are that you’ll find it pretty funny.




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