A lot of fun but too many plot holes - Colm2305
Another Scandinavian book adaptation with a looming American remake, Headhunters follows hot on the heels of its big sister The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hoping to find the same success. Produced by the same studio and containing just as much violence back dropped by IKEA furniture for the most part this works, and further cements the genre of 'Scandi Crime' as being something to take note of. Whilst far from perfect Headhunters is fine entertainment for two hours and will leave you with equal horror and amusement at the sight of a dog mauled by a tractor. Good night at the cinema I think not.
Short in stature but more than compensating with a lavish lifestyle he struggles to afford, Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a head-hunter for an Oslo firm, interviewing potential candidates for high level jobs. This pays well but not well enough for all the gifts he showers on his artist wife in the hope she won't leave him for a man of greater stature so Roger also moonlights as an art thief, stealing rare prints and selling them on the black market for millions. He soon crosses paths with Clas Greve (Game of Thrones Jamie Lannister Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and becomes intrigued with a painting Clas may have in his possession, but is Clas all he seems?
The story chops and changes plenty to keep the audience on its toes. It starts off slow and misleading, showing us what almost seems like a character study of an art thief, but soon this is all thrown out the window in favour of a chase film. The chase whilst always exciting is never near as intriguing as what has come before, and it is this mid-section where the films lags. Luckily it returns to form for the final third to compensate for this. Hennie in the lead is in every scene, and is a good find. Expect to see him crop up in Hollywood bit parts. He's believable as a man of comfort thrown into a messy situation there's no easy solution to, and we are always aware of his stature meaning that even when attacked by a woman or dog there's a believable sense of threat to him. Coster-Waldau is also great as his nemesis but could have done with more screen time. The character is never fully fleshed out adding some confusion to the extremes he goes to to get his man.
Similar to the Dragon Tattoo films Headhunters shows that Scandinavia has some interesting stories to tell but unfortunately also like Dragon Tattoo at times the direction is weak. People move from one area to another with no explanation over non-disclosed periods of time. Plot devices are awkwardly woven into the film early on with little or no subtleness. Take the web camera for example, a banner may as well have flashed up on screen stating 'this will come in handy later on!!' If the current wave is to continue they need to clean up these elements as it's what's currently keeping them from making good but not great films.
An enjoyable tale with plenty of twists and turns but there is definitely much for the Hollywood remake to improve on, nevertheless though if you spend your money on a ticket to see this you won't be disappointed.
Review published on the 02 May 2012 11:13
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