Fantasia 2012 Review: JACKPOT
What Elmore Leonard was in the 1990s, Jo Nesbø is rapidly becoming go to author for a particular type of snappy crime story. Like the meticulous and consistently surprising Headhunters adaptation by Morden Tyldum, Magnus Martin's Jackpot captures the brilliant combination of thoughtful planning and convenient co-incidence that is Nesbø's idiom. The latter case throws away most of the emotional journey in favour of absurd kinetic comedy and a more overt cat-and-mouse game with the audience (via the intense Michael Biehn lookalike detective played by Henrik Mestad.) It is kind of breathtaking the amount of plot, situation and character farce that is accomplished in its slim 82 minute runtime. The screenplay is reminiscent of the ones that Anders Thomas Jensen saves for himself to direct with Mads Mikkelsen and Nikolaj Lie Kaas. To go into the plot is to spoil the thing, but the film his amusingly self-aware of its ridiculous, violently fun, mechanics to the point of putting it textually on screen. When Oscar explains to new employee Danny (who has the longest rap sheet of the bunch, has a Robert Carlyle in Trainspotting bottled intensity) the mechanism of how you put in plastic pellets into the grinder and 'through a chemical mechanism nobody understands' fully formed artificial christmas trees emerge with a pneumatic "plthonk" out the other end, well it is an indication of the self awareness of the whole affair. It is not smug about it, merely pragmatic - much like the detective on the case and his peculiar interrogation technique. Like many of the details in Oscar's story, if you blink or look down to grab a handful of popcorn or try to project too far ahead, you'll probably miss details that are either clues or easter eggs.
Nothing too deep, but relentlessly entraining and darkly funny Jackpot is too stylish of a good time to pass up. So grab your smuggled in tallboy of beer and keep your brain turned on and alert when you dance with Nesbø on screen - Christmas comes early.
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