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At first I have to say I read the novel of which this movie is based
upon, "Headhunters" by Jo Nesbø, two years ago. A thriller I liked
quite a lot. Usually a novel is better than the film. Well, here Morten
Tyldum (Acclaimed films as "Buddy" and a short in "Most people usually
live in China"), succeeded in making a film just as interesting and
exciting as the book.
Nesbø's writing is interesting. This is most probably why Jo Nesbø's first movie adaption of his series of novels with Harry Hole will be directed by Martin Scorsese, on Nesbø's demand - his favorite director.
Actually I still kept being surprised as the movie went along. Not only because I can't remember all details in the book, but simply because the movie has a pace and also from time to time action-clipping which makes you feel poor Roger Brown's disasters. The handcraft is beautifully done. As simple as that.
Actually this film was sold to more than 50 distributors in just as many countries before it even premiered in Norway. Probably both to the novel writers Jo Nesbø's for the latter years has become world acclaimed and compared to Stieg Larsson, buy maybe also due to director Morten Tyldums merits so far. Of course also credit to the producers, managing to sell on a promise!?
Mark Wahlberg has said he was stunned by the film, and is now to make an American remake of it, with himself as Roger. Which, of course, is not at all needed. The original is as good as it gets.
Well, back to the story. Roger Brown is a self-obtained headhunter for big companies, which has to steal art on the side to keep his woman happy. Or at least he think he has to do so. He has all the right connections, until he starts stealing from the wrong guy, while headhunting him as a new boss to a successful company. A former mercenary, or different kind of headhunter, he's turning out to be. When he understands that his greed has gotten him into trouble, he really finds out what it is, being headhunted.
Both Aksel Hennie and Nicolai Coaster-Waldau is perfectly casted for this movie. Synnøve Macody Lund does a decent job in her debut-role, as do the rest of the cast. Fun also to see that real working police-chiefs in Oslo are attending the police press conference in the movie. Didn't know that even was possible for them to be allowed to do that. This actually makes both an in-joke as well as making the plot believable and "true" in our country.
It will surprise me if this film doesn't get a remake in Hollywood in less than two years. Not that it'll be as good as this, or even necessary. But that's how the Hollywood-world is, nowadays.
No doubt, the script is good. So is in all aspects the rest of the film as well. The film is smart, intelligent, surprising witty, and will engage you all the way through, both as a good story as well as a love story or a thriller. How much more do you want?
Wow. It has been a long time since I've seen a movie this good. The
movie tells the story of Roger Brown, a headhunter who also has a side
job as an art thief. His latest job goes wrong and things get out of
control from there on. If I give any more of the plot, I will spoil the
movie for you. And trust me, you don't want that. A big part of what I
enjoyed about the movie is watching how crazy things go for Roger.
Apart from the very intelligent story, what really makes the film standout is the character development, especially for the main character Roger Brown played excellently by Aksel Hennie. You start of seeing him one way, but by the end of the movie, your perception of him will definitely change. He goes through a lot (and I mean A LOT) in the movie. While watching the movie I kept thinking, "Man, give this guy a break". The intelligent story has a whole lot of heart as well.
The acting was top notch from the 2 main actors, Aksel Hennie and Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau (who you may know as Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones). Synnøve Macody Lund who play Roger's wife Diana is beautifully good too. I hope she gets more prominent roles after this.
This is one movie you shouldn't miss. There's a Hollywood version in the making but it would be very hard top this original.
I have seen some plot holes mentioned by other reviewers, but to be
honest it won't spoil your viewing of this movie and I could even say
that most films ask you for some kind of suspension of disbelief,
otherwise you'd never go to the movies.
I really didn't like the protagonist at all at first, but then your sympathy for him grows as he ends up having to do things that he wouldn't dream of in a million years, just to stay alive.
It's all handled very well and moves along at a nice pace. There some particularly black moments when you almost feel guilty about laughing. But this film got a reaction from me, and for me, that's what a well put together film should do.
Touted as the next Stieg Larsson (or if you prefer, Norway's answer to
Sweden's other major literary export, Henning Mankell), Jo Nesbo's
Headhunters had already been earmarked for a (no doubt inferior) US
remake before it was even released overseas.
Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a 168cm recruitment consultant with a big house, a beautiful wife and an inferiority complex that drives him to moonlight as an art thief. The prosaically named protagonist is no Thomas Crown - he steals to keep a (wildly overleveraged) roof over his head and only pockets a measly 30% of the revenue from his ill-gotten gains. Even his appearance is counterintuitive - more bug eyed Steve Buscemi than suited and booted Bond. Even so, there's more going on here than meets the eye, but suffice to say that his real troubles start when he decides to go after The Big One - the retirement score that will put an end to his financial troubles and allow him to keep his ridiculously attractive wife in the style to which he's become accustomed.
To say anything more about the plot would be superfluous, but I will take a moment to admire the confidence of the director Morten Tyldum. Headhunters is, in a sense, typically Scandinavian - stark, brooding and with as much silence as dialogue. The style here serves the substance - the camera is often completely immobile, forcing the audience to concentrate on what's going on, a complete contrast to the craftsmanship/gimmickry more typical of glossy mainstream thrillers coming out of the US. Rather than spoonfeeding the audience every single clue, Headhunters isn't afraid to lead the unwitting watcher on a merry dance. Naturally the whole enterprise rests on the small but perfectly formed cast, particularly Hennie, with whom we slowly come to empathise, and the more typically suave Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau as the former exec with a murky past.
If Headhunters has a particular weakness, it's that it spends most of its time descending into increasingly dark (and occasionally graphically violent) territory, while occasionally veering into light hearted caper. This does feel slightly bewildering, but to be honest, it's a relative minor criticism. Headhunters is definitely worth catching (particularly given the woefully slim pickings over the past few months), if not now, then 6 months from now when it premieres on Film Four in the middle of the night. Scandinavians (and cinéastes with a penchant for Northern European film) may be used to this kind of thing, but for the rest of us it's a wonderfully welcome arctic blast through the land's tat filled cinema screens.
Roger Brown has a pretty good life. By day, he's a corporate recruiter
(headhunter) who goes home at night to a magnificent house and stunning
wife. Unfortunately, Roger's insecurities (he's only 5'6") lead him to
seek a lifestyle well beyond his means. How does he make up the
difference between his income and expenses? High-priced art theft, of
Such is the premise of "Headhunters," a terrific Norwegian film that follows up its run at the 55th San Francisco International Film Festival with a general release. The film garnered quite a lot of buzz at the Festival and, after a recent screening, it's easy to see why. A mixture of crime/heist drama, action/suspense thriller, and love story, it's what the 1999 version of "The Thomas Crown Affair" might have looked like if it had been directed by Sam Peckinpah.
Brown, played by Aksel Hennie, is looking for one big score to settle him for life. Circumstances bring that possibility to him, but things are not what they seem. Things go wrong - very, very wrong - and Roger finds himself in deep, deep sh** (literally as well as figuratively.) To say much more would spoil the intricate plot (I'll leave that to the trailer,) but suffice it to say you should just sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride. This film has more twists and turns than a fjord-side road.
Fast paced and extremely violent in spots, this film is not for the squeamish. If you can get through a little (well, a lot) of body mutilation, high impact body trauma and the occasional spearing, you'll find yourself enjoying (yes, I said it enjoying) a cinematic thrill ride that puts its American counterparts (see Ocean's Eleven/Twelve/Thirteen, etc.) to shame.
Catch it before the typical half-assed American remake appears
Headhunters, based on Jo Nesbo's novel of the same, lived up to all my expectations - even though I am not very keen on thrillers in general. It all started out fairly interesting, although I quickly started to dislike the main character, Roger Brown. His snobbish, very self-confident attitude just put me off. However, to support his lavish lifestyle, he steals art to afford everything for his beloved wife and it all ends in a captivating battle of survival. Soon, he is chased by his rival, Clas Greve, and it seems to be an absolutely hopeless escape as Greve is always just a few steps behind. First, I attended the movie with close attention. But in the end, I didn't even dare to breath properly. A highly-recommended, although too bloody, high-quality thriller for everybody!
Im from Norway, and the last years Norwegians movies that are known has been horror movies. So this is a kind of movies we don't get from Norway so very often. That the main actor was good, is no surprise - and he is the actor in many other movies as well. But this is probably the movie i have liked him most. He plays a character that have many flaws, and that does not act like a hero. And the story is a bit twisted - and surprising. I saw it with a friend from Philippines and we both agree that this is one of the best thriller we have seen in 2011. So hurray for this Norwegians movie - and lets hope it will come more in the years that come in this quality.
Pretty boy Aksel Hennie (ginger beauty on a par with Julian Rhind-Tutt), proves to be well cast in this frantic thriller. Starting as an arrogant self-important but clearly insecure (at just 5'6")office type, he soon shows his coolness in robbing job candidates of their fine art. The story is inventive and translates well to the screen in this version directed by Morten Tyldum. The action soon turns horrifying and Aksel Hennie has the perfect physiognomy to illustrate the change without recourse to words. You really do travel this terrible journey with him and it is truly terrifying. You begin to empathise with a man you have no reason to like, and that is saying something! Thank goodness there is no smell-o-vision as Roger Brown seeks refuge in a cesspool. There's nowhere for him to go and no way of hiding. You do feel he will never survive - and this takes you right to the penultimate scenes. A marvellous tour de force by all involved. Hurrah! A brilliant film at last!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie came as a big surprise to me. Aksel Hennie gives a stunning
performance as Roger Brown,a company's head-hunter that seeks to
recruit the best with his unique strategy of negotiating and "reading"
people. Except that job Roger also steals very expensive paintings with
his partners aid.Everything goes bad when he steals a painting from a
former mercenary that he approached to recruit.
The movie has an incredible rhythm.Also very impressive and unforgettable scenes.The cast and the soundtrack are magnificent.Its a rock-solid story filled with deception and turnovers. The most stylish and modern thriller for 2011. Logically a U.S. version will follow.
Dark Scandinavian crime movies being all the rage lately, this
intelligent, action-packed thriller didn't disappoint. I went into the
film without reading the book or indeed knowing a single thing about
the film. I enjoyed it.
I was drawn into this northern world with its interesting people and beautiful natural scenery. What also made this movie stand out was the fast-paced plot with many unusual and unexpected twists. It is the kind of film that has you glued to your seat to see what could possibly happen next to the main character. Roger Brown, the headhunter, becomes headhunted. (But what's the story with the English name??)
No movie is perfect. There were a few plot problems and I have to admit I looked at my watch half way through, despite the fast pace.
Perhaps the film could be faulted for showing only two types of Norwegians: rich sophisticates and yokels (all blond of course). Aren't there any ordinary middle-class people in Norway?
Also, some of the scenes may be too difficult for the squeamish to watch. Not exessive, but just a little over the top.
I'd give this film a higher score, but I am not a fan of the genre. Still, I did enjoy it for what it was and would recommend it to anyone. It's a good movie.
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