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posted: 6/26/2014 5:45 AM

Unlikeably dumb characters permeate 'Jackpot'

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  • Video: "Jackpot" trailer

 
 

It's probably a good thing that the characters are so unlikeably dumb in Magnus Martens' violent black comedy "Jackpot."

You don't want to become attached to any of these guys. They tend to disappear quicker than cast members on "Game of Thrones."

In this Scandinavian crime thriller reminiscent of works by Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers -- and based on Norwegian crime novelist Jo Nesbo's story -- sad sack Oscar (Kyrre Hellum) gets hauled into the police station by Henrik Mestad's investigator to explain how he wound up under a large female corpse during a shootout in a roadside porno shop.

In flashbacks, Oscar recounts how he fell in with unsavory fellow workers, real criminals who've won a huge amount of money from betting on soccer matches. Betrayals and murders ensue, of course, with a spiraling number of "worse ideas" employed to cover up the crimes.

(Guys, chopping up a body in the living room is probably going to make a big mess. You think?)

Sure, we've seen the familiar elements from "Jackpot" in better movies (it's just a wood chipper off the block of "Fargo"), but here at least, editor Jon Endre Mork spurs the narrative forward nicely as Martens directs some of the most unapologetically blood simpletons in recent memory.

"Jackpot" opens at the Music Box in Chicago. Not rated, but for adults because of language, sexual situations, nudity, violence. 90 minutes. ★ ★

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