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Strike it rich and raunchy with 'Jackpot'

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Money brings out the worst in people. But, what if those people were ex-convicts and suddenly you had to share a large sum of cash with them? That's the premise for "Jackpot", a new Norwegian gangster flick that combines profuse laughs with deadpan melodrama, now available through On Demand and iTunes from Doppelganger Releasing.

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It begins with all the trademark elements of the genre; blood, sex and bullets. A minute into the film, we see a raunchy strip-club/video store, appropriately called "Pink Heaven", littered with blow-up dolls dripping with gore and a pile of deceased bodies. It’s a brutally violent way to open any movie. Although, there’s something about the cheesy background music that tells you this morose spectacle shouldn’t be taken all that seriously.

Moments later we learn from suspect Oscar Svendsen (Kyrre Hellum) that this bloodbath was the result of a soccer bet gone wrong. He is being quizzed by Detective Solør (Henrik Mestad) in a police interview room, about how he came to be at the heart of a massacre, found crawling out from under a dead stripper with a shotgun in his hands. It seems as if Oscar has had a very bad day indeed. And yet, we will soon learn that it could've been his best day, thanks to the fact of hitting a jackpot. The downside? His fellow winners put the crime into the word criminal.

Director Magnus Martens adapted the screenplay from best-selling novelist Joe Nesbø, while skillfully pulling together snippets of post-carnage flashbacks of Oscar and how he came to be in this predicament. But, is he a hapless innocent or the criminal mastermind that Solør suspects? Martens keeps us guessing as to Oscar's true plans and Hellum plays this anti-hero with a foolish bewilderment that might just be hiding something else a bit more dastardly.

With recent features like "Black Out", "Headhunters" (also based on Nesbø's work) and now, "Jackpot", American Directors should take heed. Why you ask? Because Foreign filmmakers seem to be striking it rich with the pulpy genre our country started.


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