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kilowog [Celluloid 03.14.12] Denmark thriller

Year: 2012
Directors: Morten Tyldum
Writers: Joe Nesbo
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Kilowog
Rating: 5 out of 10

Scandinavia is the new black. The last couple of years both Hollywood and the country at large have been hit hard by the onslaught of both literary and cinematic talent stemming from the three pronged kingdom of Sweden, Norway and Denmark; most notably en part to Stieg Larsson and his lauded Millennium Trilogy. Now as we enter 2012, the year that may kill us all, we are treated to Norwegian thriller sensation Joe Nesbo and the adaptation of his novel -- HEADHUNTERS.

And yes, a remake is already in development.

In an era and an economy where jobs are about as scarce as they can get, a corporate headhunter is someone who is well-sought after. This is Roger’s (Aksel Hennie) world. Short, blonde and a spitting image for Steve Buscemi, he’s a man who locates the very best in talent and delivers them to high-class companies, but he is also a man who likes the finer things, even if he cannot rightly afford him. He has a beautiful home, a devastatingly awesome car, and a gorgeous wife whose height only further showcases his desire to overcompensate. Even as a headhunter to the biggest of companies, Roger’s salary is slim at best, but unlike his pay, his propensity for thievery is far greater.

Specializing in art theft and forgeries, Roger keeps Ove (Eivind Sander) on retainer, an employee of a home security firm whom he utilizes when would-be clients are away from their fabulous homes and their equally fabulous artworks. Roger slips into their homes thanks to the alarm codes Ove provides, replaces the art with a well-made forgery, and passes them off to his partner to fence. Clean, easy; yet only so lucrative. Everything changes when he crosses paths with Clas (“GAME OF THRONES” Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a man who is everything that Roger is not -- handsome, rich, powerful, and strong. Put that type of man in front of your wife, which he has, and suddenly a man like Roger gains a complex. However, it is a complex well worth having when he realizes that all his money troubles can and will instantly disappear if he manages to steal the WWII rarity hanging in Clas’ home that was once stolen by Nazis and believed to be forever lost.

As can be expected, what seems simple never is, and the theft becomes complicated by Roger’s wife Diana’s (Synnove Macody Lund) affair with Clas along with a partner that turns up dead. Adding further distress by misleading Clas into thinking that he was on his way to securing a job that many would have killed for, Clas intends to do just that; exploiting his previously established and badass skills as a soldier. What follows is an extended game of cat and mouse where we along with Roger are not quite certain why Clas, who has been shacking up with his wife, is so eager to kill Roger. After all, what better revenge is there than sleeping with a man’s wife? Oh, yes, that’s right. Killing him.

HEADHUNTERS is a beautiful film to watch. From the architecture featured in Roger’s home to the art that he steals, the production design is astounding. Shot on a budget that roughly translates into $5 million dollars (U.S.), the film reminds us why we’re so fascinated with the Scandinavian culture -- beauty for a price. En part to the striking physical features of the actors, we are all the more mesmerized and intrigued to watch them play out their roles onscreen, and yet we feel lost. Roger is never someone to root for. He vehemently rejects his wife’s aching desire for a family, making him feel selfish and us feel uncomfortable. It’s not even with his back against the wall that we begin to feel compelled to right our opinions and turn to his side. Equally unstable, Clas, an indiscriminate killing machine feels incredibly cold and not the good kind. Unable to add any sense of flavor to his character, Clas only proves to bore us with his killer antics.

Tyldum tries his best to keep things light in what is an inherently dark tale by employing the use of impaled dogs, Russian hookers and a swim in the shitty bowels of an outhouse, but it’s this sense of unevenness that reminds us that despite a strong set up and an attractive face, HEADHUNTERS is not a job worth chasing.

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none (10 years ago) Reply

I'll go with the imdb's 75% rating...


Ganamae (10 years ago) Reply

Oi !

Update the flag on the article please, this is not a Danish movie but a Norwegian one !

And yes, it's a rather good movie as well :)


lol (10 years ago) Reply

terrible review

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