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Jackpot: Tribeca Review

Jack Pot

The Bottom Line

Blood-spattered crime comedy benefits from whip-smart pacing and quirky Scandinavian attitude.


Tribeca Film Festival, Cinemania


Magnus Martens


Kyrre Hellum, Mads Ousdal, Henrik Mestad, Arthur Berning, Andreas Capellen, Peter Andersson

Magnus Martens' black comedy stars Kyrre Hellum as a man in police custody as the sole survivor of a strip club massacre.

NEW YORK — The kind of quick-witted, high-toned genre flick programs like Cinemania were made for, Magnus Martens's Jackpot is a black-comic ride once again demonstrating that sudden windfalls of cash aren't all they're cracked up to be. Though likely to attract remake-rights attention, the pic's success with such worn-out tropes would be tough to replicate, especially considering how much entertainment value comes via idiosyncratic performances from its Norwegian cast.

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In a twisty, flashback-reliant structure recalling The Usual Suspects, we slowly learn how Oscar (Kyrre Hellum) came to be in police custody as the sole survivor of a massacre in a strip club. The manager of a recycling company that employs ex-cons, he had the misfortune of joining a betting pool with killers, only to win a sum so large nobody would want to share it. But the double-crosses don't arrive predictably, and attempts to hide evidence of each betrayal lead to increasingly outlandish violence.

Director/screenwriter Martens handles the wild implausibilities spinning out from this premise more effectively than the makers of the current arthouse release Headhunters, also based on a story by Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbo. He moves things along briskly and gets a wry, skeptical performance out of Henrik Mestad (as the detective investigating the murders) that's so off-kilter we don't need Fargo allusions -- a gag with the recycling plant's plastic-shredder one-ups that film's wood-chipper scene -- to tell us how seriously, or not, to take the action.
Venue: Tribeca Film Festival, Cinemania
Production Company: Fantefilm fiksjon as
Cast: Kyrre Hellum, Mads Ousdal, Henrik Mestad, Arthur Berning, Andreas Capellen, Peter Andersson
Director-Screenwriter: Magnus Martens
Producers: Are Heidenstrøm, Martin Sundland
Director of photography: Trond Høines
Production designer: Lina Nordqvist
Music: Magnus Beite
Editor: Jon Endre Mørk
Sales: TrustNordisk
No rating, 82 minutes