Now On Blu-ray: JACKPOT Strikes It Rich, Norwegian Style

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
Now On Blu-ray: JACKPOT Strikes It Rich, Norwegian Style
Don't go to strip clubs, kids. Or, don't buy a lottery ticket with paroled criminals. Or, just sit back and enjoy Jackpot, (original title: Arme Riddere), a scintillating, Norwegian-style thriller, out now on Blu-ray and DVD in the U.S. from Doppelganger Releasing. 

Based on a story by Jo Nesbo, the movie kicks off with an interrogation session between a cynical, grizzled police investigator and a still somewhat dazed "innocent," then promptly loops back to the aftermath of a shoot-out at a strip club, which left multiple dead bodies littering the joint and only one survivor. The story really begins, though, with the purchase of a lottery ticket; when it pays off big and the purchasers have a jackpot to share, then the deceptions begin. 

The film played at Fantasia back in 2012, where our own Kurt Halfyard bore witness to the criminal proceedings and wrote in part

In this twisty and revealing Jo Nesbø (Headhunters, the Harry Hole detective series) penned story, the cops are competent, and the criminals are ... not so much. 

It is a sordid and silly and incredibly violent tale of meek Oscar, who manages a Christmas tree manufacturing company which employs ex-cons for the labour. These burly but not too bright fellows, Thor, Danny and Billy, do not give too much of a damn about safety, sobriety or even paying attention to their employer. But they need a few extra dollars in their footy-pool scheme involving a dodgy website's promise of turning welfare cases into millionaires. 

When the bet impossibly pays off (thanks to advice from a cute blonde waitress) the boys -- who cannot do the arithmetic of even dividing the million+ kroner winnings by four -- decide they should lower the number of folks in the pool and get more of a share. Corpse disposal shenanigans combine with those special kind of complete utter misunderstandings that sit somewhere on the spectrum between Fargo and Weekend at Bernies, with a little of Fabián Bielinsky's Nine Queens thrown in for good measure. Jackpot is bloody as hell with no fears of severing body parts and splattering victims and perpetrators alike. ...

Nothing too deep, but relentlessly entertaining 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.

As noted above, Jackpot is now available for purchase on Blu-ray and DVD, and Doppelganger Releasing was kind enough to send an advance copy. 

On Blu-ray, the picture looks as sparkling as might be expected from a modern thriller captured via digital camera -- the colors are precise and "pop" nicely, with a good deal of variety in tones apparent within the generally cold and somber palette employed by director Magnus Martens, cinematographer Trond Høines (Norwegian Ninja), and head production designer Lina Nordqvist. The colors work especially well for a thriller such as this one, which features bursts of dark comedy to accompany the occasional explosions of blood and violence. 

The audio track mixes Norwegian and Swedish in 5.1 DTS master audio, while the video is displayed at 2.35:1. The English subtitles are easy to read and well-timed. 

Beyond an opening volley of trailers for other titles released by the company, we get a 5-minute behind the scenes video, which compiles footage from multiple scenes in the movie, and should very definitely be considered spoiler territory. 

All-in-all, a good package, and an automatic purchase for anyone who saw the movie and is eager to relive the experience, or for those with a bent toward Scandinavian crime thrillers. If you're at all hesitant, give this one a rental; it's a good antidote for those late-summer blockbuster blues. 
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