Headhunters is a wild and wicked black comedy
Starring Aksel Hennie and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau. In Norwegian with English subtitles. Rated 18A.
For the past decade or so, Scandinavian noir has been the dominant thread in international crime fiction, but, with the exception of the Stieg Larsson adaptations, this literary power surge has not been much reflected by the silver screen.
At least till now. Although odds are high that local audiences will ignore it, Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters is not only the most interesting crime drama of the year but also 2012’s wildest and most wicked black comedy. Funny, violent, amoral, and shamelessly sexy, this Norwegian production proves conclusively that not every movie made in Northern Europe is steeped in Strindbergian gloom.
The main protagonist of Headhunters—it’s hard to call him its hero—is Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie), a CEO recruiter so ruthless he makes Donald Trump look like Simone Weil. Although fabulously wealthy and outwardly superconfident, this physically unimposing executive—he repeatedly reminds us that he’s only 1.68 metres tall—is secretly terrified of losing his tall, willowy wife (Synnøve Macody Lund). To maintain the standard of living to which he has made her grow accustomed, Roger moonlights as an art thief. Then, at his wife’s gallery, he meets Clas Greve (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau), a smoothly macho Danish-Dutch man who just might possess a priceless Rubens.
Once this uncertain husband decides to embark on the most ambitious heist of his career, things start to go wrong. To put it mildly. In fact, they go sidesplittingly, head-swimmingly wrong. And, just when you think that things can’t get any worse, even more nemesis hits the fan.
Clearly, Roger Brown is not the most sympathetic of heroes. Nevertheless, by the end of Headhunters, you’ll probably be cheering the bastard on (even if you’d rather have a tooth extracted than watch The Apprentice).
Watch the trailer for Headhunters.