Jackpot (Arme Riddere) (review)

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Jackpot Kyrre Hellum yellow light

I’m “biast” (pro): loved Headhunters, also based on a Jo Nesbo novel

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material (I don’t think it has even been translated into English, and I don’t read Norwegian)

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I heard “based on a novel by Jo Nesbo,” and I thought: Heh heh. Because Headhunters, also adapted from a Nesbo book, is wickedly funny and sharply pointed in ways that very few other crime films would ever go near. Could I dare to hope that another film would even come close to doing the same? Alas, Jackpot does not. (This was written and directed by Magnus Martens, who was not involved with Headhunters.) Oh, to be sure, it has some outrageously, disgustingly funny moments — I laughed a lot, in isolated bursts — but it’s lacking that certain oomph that would make it unquestionably brilliant. As the film opens, we meet Oscar (Kyrre Hellum), a regular schmoe with a Chris Evans vibe, except he’s a bit dumb. Oscar was discovered, uninjured, under a dead body after a shootout at a sex shop/strip club, which makes me think of the best newspaper headline ever, the New York Post’s “Headless Body in Topless Bar.” Now, Oscar is being interrogated by cop Solor (Henrik Mestad), who’s kinda like a Norwegian Gene Hunt (see: the proper British Life on Mars), about just what the hell went down. So we flash back as Oscar begins to explain how he and a couple of his ex-con coworkers at the plastic Christmas-tree factory — oh yes, gruesome fun will be had with this location — won a lot of money betting on a soccer match, and then things kinda went downhill from there. Curious notes: creepy landlords are obviously a crosscultural, international thing; and “motherfucker” sounds the same in Norwegian, or else everyone is imitating American cop movies. Still, for all that this is a passingly fun way to spend some movie time, it’s quickly forgotten.

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