Headhunters (2012)

Better than average

Content written by Tony Macklin. Originally published on June 14, 2012 on tonymacklin.net.

Headhunters (Hodejegerne) is a roiling Norwegian mix of Hitchcock and Wile E. Coyote, with a generous dose of feces and blood.

If that sounds like a strange, absurd concoction, it is.

Headhunters starts slowly as it focuses on Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) who, in narration, emphasizes that he is only 5 foot 6 inches tall. But he is a confident, corporate headhunter.

Roger has a beautiful, statuesque blonde wife Diana (Synnove Macody Lund), whom he is dedicated to keeping in luxury.

To try to afford the lifestyle, Roger also is an art thief. He obtains information from interviews with candidates, and then robs them. He replaces paintings with forgeries while he gets away with the pilfered art. But Roger has a hard time keeping up with expenses.

A big score seems on the horizon when Roger meets Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) at a party celebrating the opening of Diana's art gallery. Roger finds out that Clas possesses a valuable Rubens' painting, and proceeds to steal it.

At that point Roger discovers he has acquired a skilled adversary. Clas was a member of a Dutch Special Forces Tracking Unit, and he is relentless.

Suddenly Roger's world is askew. He undergoes a deluge of violence. He is pummeled, stabbed, clobbered, and submerged in various liquids and muck. I think I saw an Acme safe fall near him.

Roger isn't sure who his enemies are. Like a Hitch protagonist, he's on the run.

Yellow Bird is a Swedish production company which produced the Kurt Wallander films and the trilogy of Stieg Larsson's Millennium films.

Headhunters also is a film produced by Yellow Bird from a novel by Jo Nesbo. Is the Yellow Bird - Road Runner?

Director Morten Tyldum creates crude power and suspense. Screenwriters Lars Gudmestad and Ulf Ryberg effectively adapt the Nesbo novel.

Aksel Hennie, as Roger, bears a strong likeness to a young Oskar Werner. As Clas, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau brings the presence he exhibits in tv's Game of Thrones.

A character says in Headhunters, "It's all a game."

Headhunters is a mind game. And a blood sport.


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