Jo Nesbø’s Headhunters is a Norwegian book that has been hugely successful, both in Scandinavia and internationally; so it was inevitable that a film adaptation would be made. Everyone has already been comparing it to another huge Scandinavian book to film trilogy: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But is it any good?

Morten Tyldum’s film follows a ‘headhunter’ called Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie), a guy who gets paid to find the best and brightest for big companies. He has everything he needs: a huge house, flashy car, a beautiful wife…but this lifestyle inevitably needs lots of money to fuel it. So Roger has an extra plan on the side to fund his expensive habits: stealing expensive artworks from rich people and replacing them with forgeries, using his connections to find the right targets.  And when Roger is introduced by his wife Diana (Synnøve Macody Lund) to Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and he learns of a painting worth millions in his possession, he can’t resist. But Roger’s temptations bring a lot of trouble his way and before he knows it, he’s on the run for his life.

Headhunter’s is a film that once it really kicks in rarely stops to take a breath. It runs along at breakneck speed as we follow Roger’s fight for survival as he tries to stay off the map. At times you feel exhausted just watching it.

Aksel Hennie as Roger (looking like a bizarre cross between Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken) gives a brilliant performance as a conflicted man who you laugh at for getting his comeuppance, but who is so effortlessly likeable that you can’t help feel sympathetic towards him. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (of Game of Thrones fame) is also great as the mysterious man he steals from and who turns out to have a few secrets of his own.

The problem with Headhunters is that while it is fun and gripping to watch, it still seems pretty average and not nearly as ground-breaking as everyone is making it out to be. Sure, it does have some true moments of genius throughout when Roger is trying desperately to survive, in particular a very messy hiding place and a spectacular scene involving an epic car collision. But really you get the feeling that if Hollywood had done a version of this (which I’m sure they are planning to do anyway) it would have slipped under the radar of most cinemagoers.

Headhunters is still definitely worth a watch, but really it’s not going to be bothering anyone’s ‘Best of 2012’ lists this year. But good to see another foreign film getting an international release none the less.


~ by square-eyed-geek on April 24, 2012.

2 Responses to “Headhunters”

  1. (looking like a bizarre cross between Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken)
    Oh my God, yes! Now I know what he reminded me of.

    I still really want to see this movie, is it as brutal as it seems? I don’t have a problem with violence in film but I’m not fond of it being too graphic, so I really don’t know if I should go see it or not.

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