Talkative, hyperactive young drifter Ville Alfa goes around Helsinki, basically trying to borrow money from friends and strangers by means of an incessant delivery of quirky and snappy quasi-intellectual lines and fabricated excuses.
Viltteri, a balding guy in his thirties living in rural northern Finland, is hopelessly clueless about his new role as a married man and the father of a newborn son. A perfect escape from ... See full summary »
Now don't get me wrong, I love the works of the Kaurismäki brothers, but this is a lesser work by all counts. The 35 minute short film, Jackpot 2, marks the third collaboration between Mika and Aki Kaurismäki, who would part ways after their next work. Prior to this they had done The Liar (Aki co-wrote/starred, Mika directed) and a rock-documentary called The Saimaa Gesture (both co-directed) and thanks to the success of The Liar it won a cash prize at a film festival they were able to finance this.
The films is a brief look at the lives of three youths. After some kind of disaster Helsinki is virtually empty, with only few residents left and many of them are affected by the disaster. Unfortunately, the film doesn't make use of the interesting setting. It doesn't explore the characters or the environment, it just focuses on a boy, his fiancée and his best friend. They sit around, talking nonsense, playing pinball and shooting pool.
The cast consists of unknown amateurs, save for Finnish rock legend Martti Syrjä, who plays "the best friend" and Kaurismäki regular Matti Pellonpää who does a nice cameo, but famous or not, everyone involved did pretty poorly. Not that they had much to work with. The dialogue is weak at best, ( "Life is cruel, but unfair... and I'm not talking metaphorically, now") which is surprising, because the dialogue is usually the strongest aspect in a Kaurismäki film, but none of that is present here. This is more reminiscent of Godard at his most tedious.
That said, the film does have some things going for it. It's visually quite interesting and moves on a steady pace. If one can get past the hammy acting and bad dialogue this might prove interesting, even if it doesn't really go anywhere.
I wouldn't recommend this to people who aren't familiar with the cinema of the Kaurismäki brothers. They hadn't quite found they're style yet and this film is first and foremost an exercise. Their next project, the Worthless, made in the same year is already a masterpiece, though.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?