Jo Nesbo crafts a comedy crime caperWhen Oscar wakes up in a sex shop covered in blood, surrounded by dead bodies and holding a loaded shotgun, he’s got some explaining to do to local law enforcement…
As the Scandinavian invasion continues in cinemas around the world, audiences are faced with the dual threat of both highly successful fiction and above average movie adaptations. It worked for Steig Larsson’sMillennium Trilogy and now Norwegian novelist Jo Nesbo is getting in on the action.Nesbo was most recently responsible for the amiable enough Headhunters (read our review), which couldn’t really decide whether it was a dark comedy or a crime thriller. Thankfully for his latest, Jackpot, there’s little doubt that we’re supposed to be in chuckle territory from the off.
Based on an original story penned for film by the author, rather than an existing novel, Jackpot is an overly familiar but watchable film – tracing the history of a crime through flashbacks during an interrogation. The set up places a bunch of ex-cons (plus the hapless Oscar) in a confined situation where the quartet have just won a massive betting pool. Needless to say it’s not long before the murderin’ starts.
Neither is it long before things start to become rather predictable, especially if you have even a passing acquaintance with the films of the Coen Brothers and QuentinTarantino over the last couple of decades. Plans are botched, corpses have to be disposed of and there’s even a last act twist in the offing that you may see coming a mile away.
That doesn’t stop the journey from being fairly entertaining – whether it’s giggling at the grisly events which unfold (even though you shouldn’t) or enjoying the present day exchanges between Oscar (Kyrre Hellum) and the marvellously passive aggressive detective Solor, played by Henrik Mestad. He chats about police interrogation procedures while chewing a toothpick and terrorising his prisoner – all with a wry nod to cop clichés in other films.
The rest of the group play their roles to the hilt and you even get an appearance from someone we’re going to call the Scandinavian Ricky Gervais. You’ll have to see it to find out just how uncanny the resemblance is. Technically, there’s a slight sheen of the low budget to Jackpot but it has its stylish moments and lavishes plenty of attention on the scenes of gore as well as an over the top shootout.Jackpot hasn’t got an original bone in its body but uses the established format wisely enough to be entertaining, mixing laughs with violence and predictable twists to keep the audience engaged, if not actually surprised. And it’s a damn sight less boring than Salander’s mundane adventures