29 January 2003 | KingJJ
A Throwback of Sorts
If this was 1972, Jackpot would star Jack Nicholson as a talented, but down on his luck musician searching the dusty corners of the country looking for his big break and the pieces of his squandered life. Critics would hail it as being gritty and brave. But Jackpot takes place in the here and now. And while it's hero is searching the dusty corners of the country looking for his big break and the pieces of his squandered life, he is utterly talentless, mean spirited, self centered, and a pathetic jerk to boot. Needless to say, critics did hail Jackpot in the least. Which, I can't blame them for. A year and a half ago I left the theater feeling I experienced nothing more than a loss of $10. I felt the film was pointless, aimless, and without any real payoff. But, after 5 blocks on the walk home I realized, so are the lives of the characters.
Therein lies the beauty of the film. It's the man behind the legend that was never a legend to begin with (except in his own mind). It's a '70s anti-hero film except with the sense to show the "hero" for who he really is. Not a tortured genius. But, only a loser with delusion of tortured genius.
And, upon repeated viewing it's aimlessness becomes invisible. In fact, the script is militant in it's tightness. But, the direction never chooses to hit you over the head with it's plot or it's points.
Instead, opting to throw them about almost offhanded, allowing them to seep in (as it did for me, and perhaps not for others).
Jackpot is rich in it's rewards to those who pay attention. And besides, any film that can go from being terrible to great in 5 blocks has to be worth something.