Wednesday, 3 October 2012


Monday nights Film Club look on intently!

This weeks offering at the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre Film Club was the Norwegian movie Jackpot (2011) with yours truly as the host for the evening. I think it’s fair to report that 99% of Monday night’s audience viewed and enjoyed the film in the spirit it was meant to be, that is a black comedy that was obviously not intended to be taken seriously. Whereas one of our senior members did complain to me that in her opinion the film should never have been a ‘15’ but should have been certified as an ‘18’ and to be fair other club members also expressed their surprise. Although I can’t see what difference it made as the audience were all over 18 and we all were capable of reading the films synopsis. But to keep the record straight I thought you may be interested in the reasons for the BBFC giving the film a “15” certificate.

ARME RIDDERE – JACKPOT is a Norwegian black comedy about four friends who win big on the football pools but then violently fall out over the money. It was classified '15' for strong violence, gore, language and sex references.
 The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state 'Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable'. There are several violent gory scenes, including a shootout with machine guns and a scene in which a corpse has its head cut off with an axe. However, there is no dwelling on the violence and little detail of the injuries inflicted. A number of scenes take place in a sex shop where erotic magazines and sex toys are on display. The Guidelines at '15' state 'Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail'. There is no strong detail in the sexual images in question. There are around ten uses of strong language. The Guidelines at '15' state 'there may be frequent use of strong language (for example, 'fuck')'.[1]
So back to my introduction which I more or less reproduce for your interest:

Scandinavian crime fiction, known fondly as Nordic Noir has become very popular in the last couple of years on both TV and the cinema screen.  BBC 4 have shown well received series like the Swedish Wallander about a maverick detective Kurt Wallander based on the novels of Henning Mankell, The Killing a Danish series which followed the police investigation of one specific crime, with each episode covering 24 hours of the investigation and my own personnel favourite The Bridge, which has a wonderful female lead character whose attitude reminded me of Lisbeth Salander, it’s was about the investigation of a dead body found in the middle of the 5 mile long Oresund Bridge that connects Sweden with Denmark.

The cinema has played its part by adapting Stieg Larsson’s Swedish trilogy of novels about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that not only gave us some great cinema but also gave us one of the very best characters to ever appear in a movie, the previously mentioned Lisbeth Salander played by the wonderful Noomi Repace. (Except no substitute)

The Author of Jackpot.
Tonight we highlight another prizewinning Scandinavian author Jo Nesbo whose best known crime novel’s feature a Detective called Harry Hole, who has been described as a classic loose cannon in the police force, with few close friends and some unorthodox methods, this series of novels were first published in Norway in 1997. They have been a huge success for Nesbo in the UK and across the world selling over 14 million books. (7 books published in the UK to date of which I’m on my 4th, the 8th book is due later this month). It has been rumoured that these will be adapted for cinema of perhaps TV.

The first of Nesbo’s books to be adapted for the big screen was the stand alone novel Headhunters made into a film of the same name last year with some success. Although it turned out to be a rather simplistic version of the book.

Tonight’s film Jackpot (2011) is the second of the author’s stories to be adapted.  Director Magnus Martins was handed a story that Nesbo had written with the sole intention of it being turned into a film. Martins has been quoted as saying ‘it was a very cool premise and a very cool plot, The characters are great and obviously with it being a Jo Nesbo story there is a lot of humour’ which in fact goes a long way to sum up the film. Martins worked on the screenplay and has now turned it into this hilarious black comedy. The film starts with Oscar Svendson being questioned by a detective who is interested in finding out how Oscar came to be in a sex shop lying face down in a pool of blood with a shotgun in his hand, a large dead women lying prostrate on top of him and surrounded by dead bodies. Svendson’s explanation involves three dangerous ex-cons who all work in a plastic Christmas tree factory who win 1.7 million kroner gambling on the football results!
Oscar makes his excuses......
This energetic and somewhat outrageous movie is laugh out loud funny as was reinforced by the amount of hilarity that was generated at its UK premiere which I attended at the Edinburgh Film Festival earlier this year. A very Coenesque film that brings to mind the brilliance of film’s like Blood Simple (1984) and Fargo (1996) add in Johnny Too’s Hong Kong eastern/westerns and you got some idea of how the film works.
.......but inspector Solar is having none of it!!
As with other Scandinavian films and TV series the acting is totally credible and the entire ensemble cast are a credit to Martins adding kudos to an already exceptional and enjoyable piece of work. Although Kyrre Hellum does deserves a special mention for his under played performance of Oscar Svendson.
Paraphrasing one critic who said it was a fine eccentric and deeply sarcastic interpretation of contemporary greed that brings out the worst in people, but can also be hilarious. I suspect its not a film for everyone but it certainly appealed to my sense of humour and if you enjoying BBC 4’s latest Norwegian offering Lilyhammer I have no doubt you will enjoy Jackpot.

[1] British Board of Film Classification 26/06/2012

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