Jackpot (2011): Brilliant Black Comedy

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Written and directed by Magnus Martens and based on a story by Jo Nesbø, Jackpot is a hysterically funny film about the lack of honour among criminals and how one innocent man gets caught up in almost more than he can handle.

The film opens with two men in a police interviewing room in the Ostfold Police Station. One is covered in blood and bruises while the other man, who is in a suit, questions him. The first man is Oscar Svendson who one hour previously crawled out from under the body of a huge woman while clutching a shotgun, the only survivor of a massive shoot-out in the club.

As Oscar struggles to tell the police detective what happened we are treated to a flash-back. A car with three young men is going down the road.We see it drive into the car park of a strip-club/video store called Pink Heaven. The three young men jump out and trot through the door eagerly calling out, “Any pussy in here?” As the doors close on them, gunfire erupts and all three men are shot.

As the opening credits roll, we see the carnage left in the club and we meet the detective who will question Oscar later in the film.

The Cast:

Kyrre Hellum
Oscar Svendson
Mads Ousdal
Thor Eggen
Henrik Mestad
Solør
Arthur Berning
Billy Utomjordet

The Plot:

Oscar is a sort kind of Parole Officer/Supervisor in a “Halfway House” factory that employs ex-convicts when they are released from prison. The factory makes small plastic Christmas trees. Oscar enters a football pool with three of the ex-cons who work there. Thor, Dan, and Billy all fill in tickets and Oscar drops them off paying for all the men to play. Oscar’s girlfriend tells him to change the first team that they’ve chosen to win to a draw.

When the match is televised the teams do indeed play to a draw, Billy, Thor and Dan are furious until they find that Oscar had changed the first match bet. They win over 1.7 million on the pool. Unfortunately for Oscar, despite his good fortune, his troubles are just beginning.

Waiting for the results...
Waiting for the results… Oscar, Billy, Dan, and Thor.

The Device:

The film switches from interview room to flashback and certain “scenes of the crime” where the flashbacks must “marry up” with the story that Oscar relates to Police Detective Solor (Mestad). Each flashback features more hysterically funny bad luck on the part of Oscar.

The Twist:

By the end of the film you’re left asking; did it really happen that way?

The Verdict:

Rib-tickling fun. Despite the fact that the amount of gore and blood-letting in the film could equal a Takeshi Miike movie, the film is almost hysterically funny. The action, which could be described as overly violent slapstick is blackly funny and is helped by the dialogue which can range from dry dead-pan delivery to over-the-top hilarity.

At one point Oscar is relating something and he states that when Plan A failed they had to resort to Plan B. The detective asks, “What was Plan b?” Oscar responds, “Not very good.” Very, very funny.

Due to the amount of violence and death; blood and gore; and some pretty gruesomely funny means of body disposal the film can only be classified as a black comedy. Jackpot has to be the funniest crime film I’ve seen in ages and I am amazed that Hollywood has not already snapped this film up for a remake.

A real gut-busting 5 stars out of 5 for a brilliant mix of hilarity and death. Proving once again that the Scandinavian countries don’t just write good crime fiction, but, they make great films as well.

Don’t miss it.

Going over the crime scene.
Going over the crime scene…Oscar and Detective Solor.

Somebody Just Won the 150 Million Pound Lottery? Uh-Oh…

I noticed yesterday that some lucky individual won the 150 million Euro Lottery. A single ticket purchased in the United Kingdom has enabled it’s owner to grab that metaphorical brass ring. As of today, no one has stepped forward to claim the money.

Wow.

I cannot even begin to imagine what that must be like. How to react to finding out that you have scooped all that money.

Do you jump for joy?

Do you pass out from shock?

Do you run and hide in the wardrobe and hope that no one knows it’s you?

Or…

Do you repeatedly check the winning numbers, just to make sure?

Do you rummage through your cupboards looking for the ticket?

Do you rush out to the nearest Off-license to buy champagne?

Or…

Do you stand looking in the mirror admiring the ‘new’ millionaire who looks back at you?

Do you make a list of all the friends and relatives and charities that you are going to reward?

Do you sit staring at the wall, dazed and unbelieving?

Or do you do none of these things. I am concerned that the winning ticket owner may have had instant cardiac arrest the second they heard their numbers being read out or upon checking their numbers were indeed the winning ones.

Could some poor individual be lying in the hospital as I write this? Unable to tell the world, or more importantly, the Euro Lottery officials that they have the winning ticket?

I mean, just how fickle is fate? Whenever I see in the news that someone has scooped the big lottery win and have not come forward to claim it, I think, ‘What if between buying the ticket and the draw, they get hit by a bus?’

Who gets the money then? A close relative, a spouse, their kids?

Who?

I remember reading some time ago that a huge proportion of lottery wins go unclaimed. So okay, I can well imagine some hapless guy or gal losing or misplacing the winning ticket. Or even worse, destroying the lucky ticket and never being able to claim the prize.

I can only hope that if I ever manage to pick that winning combination of numbers that allows me to greatly improve my financial situation, that I don’t have the sort of bad karma that will affect my chances of collecting the money.

In the meantime, I’ll pay close attention to the news and continue to wonder who won this latest big prize.

And I’ll just throw this out there, you know, to be helpful. But if you need any help collecting or claiming or figuring out how to spend that money. I’m here. All you have to do is ask.

I mean, I would even claim the money for you.

I’m that helpful.