By Don Simpson | April 26, 2012
Director: Magnus Martens
Writers: Magnus Martens, Jo Nesbø
Starring: Kyrre Hellum, Henrik Mestad, Marie Blokhus, Mads Ousdal, Andreas Cappelen, Arthur Berning, Lena Kristin Ellingsen, Jan Grønli, Fridtjov Såheim, Peter Andersson
As soon as we are introduced to the chipper, we know exactly where this quirkily violent murder mystery is headed. Yes, that’s right. Jackpot is Norway’s stylishly bloody attempt to bank on Fargo‘s popularity. Better late than never, I guess.
The tale is recollected by Oscar (Kyrre Hellum), the sole survivor of a violent gun battle in a strip club/porn shop, as he is questioned by an eccentric detective (Henrik Mestad); but whether Oscar is a witness or suspect is unclear, as is the truthfulness of his story of a group of dumb and greedy ex-cons who double and triple cross each other after winning 1.7 million kroner on a soccer bet.
That right there is the most impressive aspect of Jackpot — the way it toys with the audience’s perception of reality ala Usual Suspects. (Okay, and the Cheese Puffs scene is grossly hilarious.) Though the narrative seems to be told from Oscar’s perspective, most of it is actually conveyed from the detective’s reluctant opinions of Oscar’s recollections; and because the detective does not believe most of what Oscar tells him, this lends the flashback scenes a certain level of satirical mockery. As with most of the Coen Brothers’ cannon of work, writer-director Magnus Martens amps up the violence to ridiculously absurd levels — and you know how I feel about good old fashioned beheadings.