Tribeca Review: Jackpot


[From April 19th to the 29th, Flixist will bring you live coverage of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Keep an eye out for news, features, interviews, videos, and reviews of some of the most anticipated films to hit the festival circuit in 2012.]

The good thing about action comedies is that they don’t necessarily have to be proficient at both things to be entertaining. Revenge for Jolly!, for example, is really better at action than it is at comedy (as funny as I thought it was). Jackpot is kind of the opposite. The action is not really anything to write home about, but there’s some really great comedy.

More important, though, is the fact that Jackpot has the best Christmas trees ever.

Jackpot (Arme Riddere)
Director: Magnus Martens
Rating: R
Release Date: TBD
Country: Norway

What do you do when you wake up in a porn store lying underneath one corpse with several others lying around you? What do you do if the cops come and find you in that exact position, except you’re holding a shotgun? It’s one hell of a quandary, and it’s the one that protagonist Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum) finds himself in at the outset of Jackpot. Kind of. Most of the film is actually told through a series of flashbacks as Oscar is grilled by a detective named Solør (Henrik Mestad).

The real beginning of the story took place when Oscar and three ex-convicts that he works with, win a sum of money which sounds much more impressive in Norweigan Kroner (~1.7 million) than it does in US dollars (~300,000) from a soccer-tournament gambling thing. Now, not all of these ex-convicts are quite “reformed” yet, so the group slowly begins to whittle itself down.

Fortunately, there are some genuinely interesting twists along the way. It could have been a really stereotypical plot (and that would have been perfectly fine), but it went in some different directions, even if some of them did fall into general stereotypes.

Jackpot 2012

One of the problems with framing narratives like Jackpot‘s is that you always know the main character survives. If Oscar is put in a compromising position, he will come out of it alive and relatively unscathed, because he needs to end up under a dead woman holding a shotgun. This removes any real tension from the scenes where it seems like the group could be in danger of being caught (after one of their party ends up dead) or worse.

This removes a bit of the intensity from the violence, which is already kind of tame. I’m not sure what it is about Jackpot that made the action seem less intense than it should be, but there was something just a little bit off. The film has decapitations, shootings, and other fun things to keep the body count going, but it’s all underwhelming. And I honestly can’t put my finger on what it is. Were the sounds too quiet? Were things not quite exaggerated enough? Were they exaggerated in the wrong way? I am not sure, but there is something that made me forget exactly how much carnage was in the film until I started writing about it.

Instead, I remembered the jokes. And that’s what’s worth remembering. The movie is hilarious when it wants to be, and, fortunately, that’s most of the time. The interplay between both the characters in the flashbacks and Oscar/the detective in the present are really enjoyable, and I was laughing throughout pretty much the entire film.

And, quite frankly, there’s not really much more to say. Jackpot is a really funny movie with really middling action. It’s an entertaining hour and a half which is well worth your time. So yeah.