by M. Faust
Roger Brown is only 5’6” tall, as he would be the first to point out. In fact, it’s the first thing he tells us about himself in Headhunters, a twisty thriller from Norway. True to form, or at least to the cliché of men his height, Roger is an overcompensator. He pays too much for a house because he thinks it’s what his elegant blonde wife, who towers over him, expects. And if he lives beyond his means, his means are not negligible: He’s the top headhunter for an executive recruitment firm who knows how to guide his clients to top dollar by manipulating the corporations with positions to fill.
What his clients don’t know is that he’s manipulating them, too. Armed with the information he gets from their interviews and the help of an inside man at Oslo’s best home security company, Roger is also an art thief, who substitutes reproductions for the valuable paintings he steals.
As played by Aksel Hennie, who looks like Klaus Kinski mixed with Hugh Grant, Roger is not a very likeable guy. We expect him to get in trouble, and we expect to enjoy seeing it. This happens when he tries to recruit a new client, Clas Greve, a retired Dutch executive with a background as a mercenary. Greve is played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones, and if you are a fan who wants to see him in a different type of role, this is not the place to look.
Scandinavia has long been a source of top mystery and suspense thrillers, from the novels of Henning Mankel and Stieg Larsson to recent TV series like Forbrydelsen (source for AMC’s The Killing). Based on a novel by Jo Nesbo, Headhunters brings a dry Coen Brothers sensibility to a black-humored story that is not for the faint-hearted. It moves swiftly enough that I can’t be sure whether the final wrap-up ties everything together as well as it appears to. But if it doesn’t, watching it again to pick it apart wouldn’t be a bad way to spend a leisure evening.
Watch the trailer for Headhunters
Issue Navigation> Issue Index > v11n22 (Week of Thursday, May 31) > Film Reviews > Headhunters
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