Headhunters

19 Aug

 

 

Director: Morten Tyldum

Writers: Lars Gudmestad, Ulf Ryberg,

Stars: Aksel Hennie, Synnøve Macody Lund and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Motion Picture Rating: 15

Runtime: 100 minutes

 

 

I lived in Stockholm for 2 years ca. 2007 and I travelled to Norway and Denmark for work during that time, but I must have been wearing blinkers. That’s if the recent deluge of Scandinavian crime fiction is to be taken as fact. This film is on the Norwegian side, based on the book by the king of airport paperbacks Jo Nesbo, but is produced by the Swedish team behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. As such it is true to much of what has recently been written and filmed in Scandinavia under the banner of ‘Nordic noir’ IE it is dark, gritty and violent with seemingly decent folks living very non-PC lives behind the doors to their hard wood homes.

In Headhunters the seemingly straight, if not likeable, main character is Roger Brown. He is an Oslo based recruitment executive with a beautiful blonde wife, expensive car and stylish home. Straight up he complains about his short stature and there is definitely a bitter edge to Roger so his side-line in art theft is not as surprising as it might be. The man has to pay for his high end lifestyle so why not steal from those genuinely rich people that he encounters via work, his wife etc? It is plausible, but what follows plot-wise is distinctly not as Roger steals from and then is chased by Clas Greve, an impressive and enigmatic executive for whom he is trying to find work.

The plot of Headhunters is over-the-top and hardly worth trying to explain here. Roger and Clas play cat and mouse, a number of people die, there are a few twists and turns and it all just about gets resolved at the end. There are a decent number of thrills and one particularly strong scene in a ravine after a car crash. The film moves quickly enough and the actors are solid, especially Aksel Hennie (Roger) who is really put through the mill by the film-makers. It is an entertaining movie with nods to the Coen brothers (Blood Simple, Fargo), but schlock does replace logic once too often for it to be labelled as either a classic thriller or a significant piece of Nordic noir.

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