×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jackpot

Lovers of Scandi crimers are in luck: It's the heyday of Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo. As Morten Tyldum's art-heist thriller "Headhunters," based on a Nesbo book, rolls out internationally, hot on its heels comes the droll and grungy "Jackpot," based on an original Nesbo story written with the screen in mind.

With:
With: Kyrre Hellum, Mads Ousdal, Henrik Mestad, Arthur Berning, Andreas Cappelen, Lena Kristin Ellingsen, Fridtjov Saheim. (Norwegian, Swedish dialogue)

Lovers of Scandi crimers are in luck: It’s the heyday of Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo. As Morten Tyldum’s art-heist thriller “Headhunters,” based on a Nesbo book, rolls out internationally, hot on its heels comes the droll and grungy “Jackpot,” based on an original Nesbo story written with the screen in mind. Tightly scripted by helmer Magnus Martens, this blackly comic, pulpy caper unspools at a rollicking pace, with multiple homages revealing his keen knowledge of genre. “Jackpot” pays out as entertaining fare for cinephiles and the average Joe not averse to well-contextualized gore, and should appeal to savvy distributors.

Opening with a literal bang and filled with jaw-dropping twists, the story alternates between the investigation of a messy crime scene at stripper bar/porn shop Pink Heaven and flashbacks showing how witness/suspect Oscar (Kyrre Hellum) wound up there, bloody and terrified, beneath a fat woman’s corpse. It’s a tale of dishonor among thieves that offers a sly tip of the hat to the Coen brothers’ “Fargo” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction.”

Popular on Variety

In a small town in southeastern Norway, near the Swedish border, Oscar works at the Evergreen plant, supervising troublesome ex-cons as they produce artificial Christmas trees. When Oscar joins psychopath Billy (Arthur Berning), slow-thinking loser Thor (Mads Ousdal) and ever-grinning Dan (Andreas Cappelen) in a soccer betting pool, the quartet defies the odds and winds up with a winning ticket. But given the personalities involved, it stands to reason that the multimillion-kronor payout won’t be split four ways, and that the factory’s wood chipper and nail gun will be put to nefarious use.

As Oscar recounts his version of events, Inspector Solar (Henrik Mestad) listens incredulously. Meanwhile, the death count rises, body parts are scattered hither and yon, and a tanning bed, a Swedish pig farm and a greedy landlord (Fridtjov Saheim) enter the mix.

In his sophomore feature, helmer Martens delivers on the promise he displayed in his debut, “United,” creating a stylish and pacey action-comedy full of spot-on performances, inspired but gruesome gags, with crack comic timing and barbed dialogue. A wry soundtrack and hipster music choices also support the mood.

The craft contributions are uniformly strong; particularly noteworthy are Lina Nordqvist’s clever, increasingly red-spattered production design and Trond Hoines’ crisp widescreen lensing.

With “Jackpot” and “Headhunters” more blackly comic than is typical of Nesbo’s work, it will be interesting to see how audiences respond to the upcoming Martin Scorsese-helmed adaptation of bestseller “Snowman,” featuring iconic Nesbo detective Harry Hole.

Jackpot

Norway

Production: A Nordisk Film Distribution (in Norway)/Metrodome (in U.K.)/ NFP (in Germany) release of a Fantefilm production with the support of NFI, Nordisk Film, Film i Vast, Aschehoug Forlag, Filmlandet Invest, Film 3, Storyline Studios, Halden Municipality. (International sales: TrustNordisk, Hvidovre, Denmark.) Produced by Martin Sundland, Are Heidenstrom. Executive producers, Hugo Hagemann Fosker, Elle-Beth Lonnenstad, Audun Lyngholm Wittenberg, Thomas Loberg. Co-producers, Fredrik Wikstrom, Pontus Sjoman. Directed, written by Magnus Martens, based on a story by Jo Nesbo.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen, DV), Trond Hoines; editor, Jon Endre Mork; music, Magnus Belte; production designer, Lina Nordqvist; costume designer, Gabriella Ekman; sound (Dolby Digital), Baard H. Ingebretsen. Reviewed on DVD, London, April 16, 2012. (In Tribeca Film Festival -- Cinemania). Running time: 82 MIN.

Cast: With: Kyrre Hellum, Mads Ousdal, Henrik Mestad, Arthur Berning, Andreas Cappelen, Lena Kristin Ellingsen, Fridtjov Saheim. (Norwegian, Swedish dialogue)

More Scene

  • Peter Caranicas

    Variety's Peter Caranicas Honored With the Inaugural HPA Legacy Award

    Peter Caranicas, Variety managing editor, features, was honored with the inaugural Hollywood Professional Assn. Legacy Award at the organization’s 14th annual gala at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Caranicas joined Variety as features managing editor in 2008, and currently serves as both deputy editor and managing editor, features. He has developed the editorial franchises Dealmakers [...]

  • Diane Lane Jane Fonda Piper Perabo

    Diane Lane, Piper Perabo Arrested at Jane Fonda's Weekly Climate Change Protest

    Jane Fonda’s weekly Fire Drill Fridays protest to urge government officials to seriously consider the impact of climate change saw a number of celebrities this week, with Diane Lane, Piper Perabo and model Amber Valletta among those arrested. This week, Fonda avoided arrest at the Capitol. “The Good Place” star Manny Jacinto also participated in [...]

  • Lily Tomlin Paley Honors

    Lily Tomlin Shares How She Wants 'Grace and Frankie' to End

    Lily Tomlin knows that all good things must come to an end. It was announced a few months ago that “Grace and Frankie” will bow out after Season 7 on Netflix, and on Thursday night, Tomlin shared how she would like the series to end, saying that she envisions herself and Jane Fonda “going out [...]

  • Laverne Cox Charlie's Angels

    How Laverne Cox Landed a Cameo in Elizabeth Banks' 'Charlie’s Angels'

    Laverne Cox officially earned her wings, scoring a role in Sony’s “Charlie’s Angels.” But she revealed her cameo almost didn’t happen. When the Emmy-nominee heard that Elizabeth Banks was directing the film, the longtime fan of the franchise (and of Banks herself) reached out about being part of the project. Cox had previously worked with [...]

  • Lena Waithe'The Inheritance' Broadway play opening,

    Lena Waithe, Anderson Cooper Attend Broadway Opening of 'The Inheritance'

    “The Inheritance” pulls viewers in many directions — toward pain and hope, trauma and healing. It’s what brought stars like Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Lena Waithe to Broadway on Sunday — a chance to heal, to remember and grieve. Also in attendance for the premiere at the Barrymore Theater [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content