Sunday, February 17, 2013


Headhunters (2011)
Crime, Thriller, 100 minutes, Norwegian Language
Directed by Morten Tyldum
Starring Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnøve Macody Lund and Eivind Sander

After watching Headhunters for the second time in two months, I feel compelled to review it. I know that most of you will never see it because it's subtitled, and that's a huge shame. I'm not sure how many thousands of movies I have watched over the years, but this may be the most original script I have ever seen. I don't say that lightly, I can assure you.

Although I know I must review the movie, I also don't want to tell you anything about it at all. It's too surprising to be ruined by a review that gives away any of its many revelations.

So what can I tell you?

Roger Brown is 5' 6" tall and has a wife who is beautiful, successful, and several inches taller than him. She's about to open her own art gallery. He's insecure and almost sure that she'll eventually leave him, so he tries to compensate by giving her expensive gifts and living in a house that is out of his price range. He works as a headhunter, placing people in high-powered jobs, but he supplements his income by stealing paintings.

We are shown how Brown carefully uses his main job to select potential targets for his criminal activities. His accomplice, Ove (Sander) works in security, and helps Brown disable alarms. Brown dreams of the day that he steals something valuable enough to enable him to change his life forever, and an opportunity presents itself when Clas Greve (Coster-Waldau) tells Brown's wife that he owns a Rubens.

I don't want to reveal any more plot points.

Aksel Hennie looks like a more refined version of Steve Buscemi, and has the same sort of charm. Even though he's a criminal, it's hard not to root for him. Some of the situations that he finds himself in are bizarre, but his actions seem logical and intelligent under the circumstances.

The movie is based on Jo Nesbø's novel. I sometimes watch successful movies, such as Avatar, and sit there wondering how such a predictable plot ever ended up being made into a movie. I'm certain that I could do better. But if I had written Headhunters, I would be extremely proud. You won't be able to predict many of the twists and turns taken by this plot. It's nothing short of genius.

I saw some great films in 2012, but even though there was a Tarantino release, and several others worth 4.5 or 5/5, I don't think anything surpassed Headhunters in terms of sheer enjoyment. If you are open to subtitled films, this is a must. If you aren't, maybe this can be your first. An American remake appears to be scheduled for next year. Your other choice is to learn Norwegian. It would almost be worth the effort.

Overall score 5/5

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  1. I'm dreading the idea of remake for this one. The film was really fantastic and as with Oldboy the remake is completely unnecessary.