Jackpot begins with the aftermath of a violent showdown that sees a strip club on the border of Sweden now lined with blood and bodies. The police arrive in swarms; attempting to investigate who and what caused this horrific scene when, suddenly, a young man named Oscar emerges from underneath a hefty stripper with a shotgun clasped in his hands. He’s pulled into a police station, jailed in an interrogation room and questioned by a detective who attempts to understand exactly what led to the chaos he has just witnessed.
Flashing between Oscar’s interrogation and the events that precluded the bloody event, this Jo Nesbo adaptation tells the thrilling and often darkly hilarious story of three ex-convicts and their supervisor at a Norwegian Christmas tree factory who win 1.7 million kroner in a football bet. However, when they start considering how the money should be divided, the trust and friendship between the blue-collar workers quickly descends into betrayal and murder.
The film, written and directed by Magnus Martens, is almost like a compilation of all of this generation’s finest crime films. The structure bears resemblance to The Usual Suspects, the splashes of ultra-violence echo Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs and reprieve from the nail-biting suspense is frequently allowed thanks to dashes of absurd black comedy synonymous with Coen Brothers films like Fargo.
The loving nods to these filmmakers come thick and fast – look out for the homage to the Coens’ aforementioned Oscar winner in the Christmas tree factory, for example – and it makes Jackpot hugely entertaining stuff for any fan of the genre, even to the point that you can forgive the film for its lack of any fresh ideas.
Therefore, while much of what it does has already been achieved to a higher standard, Jackpot is so blissfully mischievous in its chaotic hybrid of violence and comedy that it makes for a great deal of fun.