This might be the second film to bear the name of Norwegian crime writer Nesbo after the grimly amusing white collar combat of Headhunters released earlier this year, but it hasn't sprung from his books.

It's a one-off Nesbo story scripted by director Martens.

And if Headhunters suggested a Coen brothers' foray into Scandi-noir, the blackly funny, gore-heavy Jackpot is even more so.

That's right down to its own twisted tribute to the Coens' Fargo, which, of course, was a film populated by Gundersons and Lundegaards.


And, like Fargo, this is a film about the problems of mixing the salt of the earth with the scum - when Oscar (Hellum) is found, clutching a shotgun, as the only survivor of a mass shoot-out in a backwoods strip joint on the Norwegian-Swedish border, the assumption might be that he's the last man standing in some gangland massacre.

Only as arresting Detective Solor (an amusingly deadpan Mestad) slowly unravels, the facts are even stranger and the body count is even higher than at first glance.

And that all has something to do with Oscar's workplace, which benevolently employs ex-cons in its artificial Christmas tree factory and a 1,739,361 Kroner-winning ticket in the soccer pools.

Coming in at under a hour and a half, Jackpot is certainly a taut affair, but still has plenty of time for splatter-happy nastiness.

Fortunately, it's undercut by much mordant humour and mad twists. It would have made a pretty thin book but on screen it's still a real page-turner.

Stars: 4/5
Cast: Kyrre Hellum, Mads Ousdal, Henry Mestad, Arthur Berning, Andreas Cappelen
Director: Magnus Martens
Rating: R16 (violence, offensive language & horror)
Running time: 82 mins
Verdict: Neatly nasty Norse crime comedy