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Jackpot (Arme Riddere)

Film Three Stars
Having read some Jo Nesbø and seen the recent Headhunters (Filmstalker Review) I was rather excited to hear that there was another Nesbø adaptation arriving at this year's Edinburgh Informational Film Festival and so it went on my watch list immediately.

I was expecting a strong thriller with a nice angle on humour, humour that came out of the situation the characters were in and the darkness of the story, but above all a thriller, something exciting and engaging.

However I'd heard a few things that suggested this might not be as exciting as Headhunters was but considering the source material I was more than willing to give it a go, and I'm glad I did.

Plot.pngA man who runs a Christmas tree factory and hires ex-offenders enters into a betting syndicate with some of his employees, a syndicate that could mean a lot of money if they win. However when they do there's a stark realisation of just who he is dealing with and how strong their greed is, especially when he awakes in a strip joint filled with dead bodies, police and a shotgun in hand.


TheFilm.pngJackpot.jpgThe film opens well with a strong feeling of a Hitchcockian thriller where an innocent man is caught in events beyond his control. There's plenty of style straight away which slowly lets in a sense of humour and quirkiness, initially through the detective and his style of interrogation and then through the story of Oscar Svendson and how he came to be in the police station, or more importantly how he came to be in the strip joint.

I was surprised at the amount of humour in the film especially considering the opening scene and how it first felt, I had thought that this would be more thriller than anything, but the humour was very welcome and it was a dark humour, a dark humour that came out of some bizarre situations and characters. There was much more there than there was with Headhunters but the film never overstepped the mark and turned too far towards a comedy keeping the film pretty dark.

It's still a good thriller though and you shouldn't think that the comedy detracts from the rest of the film. Although you won't be on the edge of your seat as much as you might like from a straight up thriller you will be wondering where the story is taking our lead character next and just how bad it could get, something that it always seems to do.

The way the story is told works well, cutting the flashbacks with the interrogation, revealing the story to the audience as Svendson reveals it to the detective. The current timeline story doesn't just play out in the interrogation room as Svendson and the detective visit some of the locations we see in the flashbacks and we experience some of the aftermath. It adds a nice extra depth and layer to the film especially with the quirky detective character who is very interesting to watch.

However it's not hard sometimes to see where the story is going if you're expecting a thriller filled with twists and turns you might be a little disappointed but it still delivers a lot through the rest of the story. Just because you're not reeling with the twists of a thriller doesn't mean it's any less of a thriller although it may have a little less of an impact at each turn of the story there are other turns in the story that deliver a feeling of suspense and surprise, even if some of them do involve a Christmas Tree making machine.

The lead Kyrre Hellum is enjoyable in the role, even if he seems to be continually rolling with the punches that the story delivers him, and he shows a great timing for the comedic side. Detective Solør, played superbly by Henrik Mestad, is excellent with his mannerisms and the way he reacts to the ever growing bizarre story being related to him. His explanation of the interrogation techniques is a fantastic moment and really sets his character off for the rest of the film. Personally I would have loved to have seen much more of him.

I also have to mention the strong soundtrack throughout the film and how well the audio plays through it. Take for instance the opening interrogation and the obvious break in the score, it's a strong moment and a very effective use of audio in a scene, and it's one of the aspects of the film that stuck with me.

You'll enjoy how the story focuses in as it progresses and how the characters from the syndicate interact with each other, Svendson always on the receiving end and seemingly to muddle through as the syndicate hones their greed and criminality on the single goal, that of the prize money.

The ending of the film delivers an interesting turn for the main character, one that has been building since the beginning, but it also brings forward a wrap up for the story and Svendson that seems a little flat after the journey we've taken, the journey there is far better than the closing reveals which could have been much stronger, and if anything are the disappointing part of the film.


Overall.pngJackpot is a good thriller that carries a lot of dark humour and a film that has more humour and darkness than you might have expected from the other recent Jo Nesbø adaptation of Headhunters (Filmstalker Review). It may not pack as many twists and turns as Headhunters but Jackpot is still an enjoyable thriller and the additional level of dark humour suits it well.

It's a well structured thriller that doesn't deliver huge thuds of twists but rather decent turns, some expected, but still all enjoyable and amusing viewing, as long as you like your humour darker than the average film. Think comedic moments with a Christmas Tree making machine and body parts and you're on the right track.

Great characters, strong writing and film-making deliver a good thriller, it may not be what you're expecting from a Nesbø adaptation but it is worth watching.



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