HEADHUNTERS comes to America from Norway, led by a great cast, starring Aksel Hennie (Max Manus) as Roger, a charming scoundrel and Norway’s most accomplished headhunter. Roger is living a life of luxury well beyond his means (struggling with his house payments) by stealing art to subsidize his expensive lifestyle. When his beautiful gallery owner wife (Diana) introduces him to a former mercenary in the possession of an extremely valuable painting, he decides to risk it all to get his hands on it, and in doing so discovers something which makes him a hunted man. The film is based off the best-selling thriller by author Jo Nesbo from 2008, which I will now be reading.
‘Headhunters’ starts with a light, comedic opening – narrated by our main character, Roger. He explains his situation, how to go about stealing art, tracking your man, and living basically a false life. This light opening surrounding serious events reminded me of a Coen brother’s film; reminiscent of ‘Burn After Reading’.
After finding out a friend of his wife has a priceless piece of art worth hundreds of millions, Roger sets in motion a plan that triggers a quick and drastic change in the film. The story picks up very quick and a series of events unfold that leave the audience on the edge of their seat, while still blending in comedic elements. The film has a few gory scenes, however if you get through Coen films, you can get through this.
With regards to the cast, they are perfect. An example of this is even though you KNOW Roger is a thief; you still connect with him and find yourself rooting for him. The supporting cast does an excellent job, specifically Roger’s wife Diana. The antagonist throughout the film is a former military specialist (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who will be recognized by ‘Game of Thrones’ fans as Jaime Lannister. And director Morten Tyldum manages to tie the story together while not losing the audience.
Overall, this movie is fantastic – I would put it on a must-see for everyone (especially before Hollywood remakes it). The story is written perfectly, with a fantastic ending that will make you want to watch it again (I know I want to). It walks the fine line of violence with comedy, and does it perfectly. Make sure you get to E Street Theater in DC when this one comes out next week for a limited time!
Kibitzer’s Rating: 5 out of 5