Jackpot (Arme Riddere) - (film review)
Director: Magnus Martens, Country Norway, 2012, 1hr 26 mins
Cast: Kyrre Hellum, Henrik Mestad and Marie Blokhus
Review by Dan Collacott
Following the success of Headhunters, writer/director Magnus Martens has brought another story by Norwegian crime thriller author Jo Nesbo, to the big screen.
Jackpot begins at brake neck speed in the thick of a bloody shoot out in a seedy strip joint. The police arrive to find Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum) crawling from underneath a female corpse, bloody, bewildered and acutely aware he is clutching a shotgun! The story is retold via eccentric police officer Solør (Henrik Mestad) as he cross-examines Oscar back at the station.
Oscar paints himself as the reluctant victim, forced to deal with each new problem regardless of the moral implications. He helps run a factory that employs former prison offenders. A shady new arrival at the factory, Dan Treschow (Andreas Cappelen) persuades Oscar, his incompetent life long friend Thor Eggen (Mads Ousdal) and fellow worker Billy Utomjordet (Arthur Berning) to play the soccer pools using a new betting system. Oscar reluctantly places the bet, but makes one crucial change to a result, which, as it turns out effectively wins them 1.7million. Oscar makes a short trip to get some more celebratory booze, but returns to find his fellow revellers have turned on, and killed one of their number. This kicks off a merry go round of greed, treachery, deceit and murder as the trio fight to dispose of bodies, pay off old debts and stay undetected by the police long enough to enjoy their tainted windfall!
The retelling of the story is quite Tarantino-esque, although the comedy and violent misadventure that features throughout probably owes more to Guy Ritchie than Quentin and the Coens. Director Magnus Martens plays the violence brutality fast and the action increasingly absurd. Oscar’s recollections are coloured by the cynicism of the superbly deadpan but razor sharp Solør. Whether Oscar is the victim or lead perpetrator is given further ambiguity in the final act when the same scenes are retold by his repugnant ex-cop landlord.
The film unashamedly owes much to John Huston classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre as well as Fargo and Lock Stock (especially the music in some of the zanier scenes). It falls short of being a classic or even being in the same league as the brilliant Headhunters. Never the less, Jackpot is a stylish and enjoyable crime thriller, full of quirky but violent comic capers.