Working as a foreman in a Norwegian factory staffed by ex-cons, born loser Oscar Svendsen (Hellum) hardly leads the most exciting life. After a big football pools win, however, he and some co-workers have problems trying to decide how to split the winnings, and Oscar ends up explaining to the cops how he woke up as the sole survivor in a room full of dead bodies…
Following the surprising – and deserved – success of offbeat thriller Headhunters, Jo Nesbo has replaced Stieg Larsson as the Nordic crime writer of the moment. Another Nesbo adaptation (although from a story proposal rather than a novel), Jackpot isn’t nearly as enjoyable though, with both the comedy and violence ramped up to much less satisfying effect. While boasting a Usual Suspects-ish framing device (as Oscar relates what seemingly happened to Henrik Mestad’s big-quiffed cop Solor), again the pulpy Norwegian noir boasts a distinctly Coen brothers-ish feel (macabre comedy, farcical plotting, idiotic characters). Kyrre Hellum, who occasionally resembles a young Steve Buscemi, is a decent lead and there are a few funny moments (the red Christmas tree production line is a nice visual gag), but there isn’t much here in the way of originality.
Following the success of Headhuntters, Jackpot ramps up the comedy and violence but isn’t nearly as enjoyable or satisfying.