Oscar (Kyrre Hellum) sits in a police interview room, bloodied and shaken. We learn that he was discovered by the cops just an hour earlier, hiding beneath the corpse of a "massive woman" following a shoot-out at the Pink Heaven strip club.

Solor (Henrik Mestad) is the take-no-shit detective who found Oscar at the scene of the crime, and itís Solor Ė with the occasional help of his pretty assistant Gina (Marie Blokhus) - whoís now interviewing him. He wants to know exactly why 8 people got shot down Ö and how Oscar survived the massacre. It doesnít help Oscarís cause that he was discovered with a rifle in his hands, and that he initially tried to resist arrest.

Solor begins by quizzing Oscar as to the motive behind the shoot-out. Was it to a robbery, he asks? Or maybe something to do with drugs. Oscar explains that, to the contrary, he was at the strip club with his friends Tor (Mads Ousdal), Dan (Andreas Cappelen) and Billy (Arthur Berning) to celebrate their combined win on the football pools.

From there, the film progresses largely in flashbacks as we learn how the four pool winners first became friends while working at Evergreens, an agency which gives employment to ex-offenders, and how their misadventures lead to them winning the jinxed prize.

The four protagonists are each volatile individuals in their own ways, which makes for some electric confrontations and plenty of unpredictability as Oscarís version of events unravels. But the viewer must sometimes adopt a similar level of suspicion to that of Solor, as the twisting action becomes increasingly outlandish.

"Are you a suspect or a witness?" Solor ponders aloud as the story continues, wondering whether any of what heís being told (and weíre seeing) is the truth.

Is Oscar as innocent as he protests? Is the whole fiasco down to what happens when four cads end up sharing a huge prize? Why has Oscarís flat been freshly painted inside? And why is his landlord Gjedde (Fridtjov Saheim) behaving so peculiarly around the cops?

JACKPOT is, as the above synopsis hopefully conveys, a crime caper thatís laced just as thickly with black humour as it with tension. The script is smart and sarcastic where it needs to be, while the cast are uniformly adept at delivering the quick wisecracks with deadpan skill.

Added to this, the deceptively plot serves as springboard into some increasingly wild tangents which deliver some extraordinarily grisly set-pieces: the end result is a fast-paced and enjoyable foray into splatter-crime-comedy-thriller that only the most jaded viewer wouldnít find fun from.

Written by Jo Nesbo, the best-selling Nordic crime author whose HEADHUNTERS was adapted into a highly successful film last year, JACKPOT is a much less serious and more boisterous romp than that, feeling more akin to the crude post-Tarantino gangster shtick of Guy Ritchie than the cool Scandinavian suspense of, say, "The Killing".

But if youíre willing to accept this unexpected fact, JACKPOT does provide a lot of entertainment. Director Magnus Martens maintains a brisk tempo and manages to keep the audience onside despite some unnecessary stylistic flashiness (Tarantino-style opening titles; slick MTV-editing moments; redundant pop songs on the soundtrack), while Hellum succeeds in his efforts at balancing all of the mayhem with a little heart: heís a likeable lead, and one that the audience can root for.

The denouement may not be Earth-shattering but does satisfy in its own right. There are a couple of minor surprises along the way. While the film is certainly gory at times, there is a certain lack of punch to the visceral elements that perhaps prevents JACKPOT from attaining the cult status itís clearly aspiring towards. However, that doesnít prevent it from being a thoroughly decent film anyway.

Metrodome are releasing the film uncut onto UK DVD. Alas, the disc provided for review purposes was a very basic screener affair and therefore is not indicative of the version that will be available in stores.

Still, despite a lack of extras or even menus to speak of, the test disc did at least present the film in a very appetising 16x9 2.35:1 transfer. A considered, cool aesthetic bent dictates that JACKPOT has a restrained palette which comes across naturally in this essentially very good transfer. Grain is minimal, definition is fine and blacks are handled well.

Norwegian audio on the test disc came in an evenly balanced, clear and clean 2.0 mix. The easily readable English subtitles here were forced; it may well be that the retail disc will be furnished with optional ones.

JACKPOT doesnít quite meet the zany cultish heights itís aiming for, and will be a disappointment for anyone looking for something as intricate or challenging as the better-known Nesbo adaptation, HEADHUNTERS. Even so, JACKPOT is entertaining in its own right and is definitely worth a look if you donít mind if your Saturday nightís violent throwaway fun comes with subtitles.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Metrodome Distribution
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review