Quickie: Headhunters

Headhunters_Movie_PosterRoger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is Norway’s most successful headhunter, but he’s also an art thief. Having stolen a hugely valuable painting from executive and former mercenary Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Roger becomes embroiled in a deadly game of cat and mouse that tests him to the limit.

Headhunters, based on a novel by Jo Nesbø, continues the outpouring of gritty films and TV shows from Scandinavia and is another lesson in how to make a tight, well constructed thriller. It wastes no time whatsoever in getting to the point of the story and has virtually no scenes that are surplus to requirements. Almost every scene is important and plays some role in either developing the characters or progressing the narrative. There’s little to no meaningful backstory here, and whilst that does mean it’s slightly shallow, it allows you to focus purely on what happens over the film’s runtime.

Unlike some of its contemporaries, the film has a dark vein of humour running throughout, although whether this is intentional or not is unclear. This may enhance the film for some who love a bit of dark humour, but it may derail it for others who prefer a straight up thriller.

Aksel Hennie is very good in the lead role, perfectly portraying Brown’s cockiness that soon turns to despair and fear. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is also very good in his apparently customary smug arsehole role. Headhunters isn’t revolutionary or particularly original but it has pretty much everything you could want from a thriller: tight, intelligent and well thought out. The Scandinavians are really rather good at this.

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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44 thoughts on “Quickie: Headhunters

  1. Mark Walker says:

    Good stuff Chris. I absolutely loved this film. It’s one of the best thrillers I’ve seen for a while. It gets a 4.5 from me.

  2. keith7198 says:

    I started this flick but never finished it. I have to remedy that!

  3. ckckred says:

    Nice review. I’ve had this on my Netflix que for quite a while and hope to see it soon.

  4. Remember watching this at the London Film Festival a couple of years back knowing nothing about it and was really pleasantly surprised. Great write-up!

  5. filmhipster says:

    I loved the chase scene! This was a fresh film with a lot of twists! Glad you liked it too Chris.

  6. Tyson Carter says:

    Keep seeing this in stores, maybe I should buy it. Constantly gets good scores, nice write up buddy 🙂

  7. Dan Heaton says:

    Chris, it’s great that you were able to check out this excellent thriller. I saw it at a film festival here back in 2011, and I’m glad that so many have caught up with it. It’s not re-inventing the wheel like you mention but is tense and well-made, with good acting too.

  8. theipc says:

    Great post!

  9. CMrok93 says:

    A crazy flick, but a fun one that you can always expect to see something new or cool with. Nice review.

  10. Nick Powell says:

    Man this has been sitting in my queue for so long. I keep wanting to watch it but not want to read or something…. stupid I know. Great review though. I may finally catch it this weekend.

    • Nah I totally get that man, sometimes I’m just not in the mood for something heavy or I don’t want to have to read subtitles. Which is why I watched Superbad yesterday 🙂 Definitely recommend giving this a go though mate.

  11. Garrett says:

    Nice write-up. Never seen this one.

  12. Looks great! I love Scandanavian films.

  13. sati says:

    Great that you liked it! I don’t usually watch foreign films but since Nikolaj was in it, I gave it a shot and I wasn’t disappointed, one of the better movies I saw last year.

  14. mikeyb185 says:

    Headhunters is a great film. And personally I found it hilarious. Good write up

  15. Mark Hobin says:

    This made my Top 10 of the year it came out. Yeah I loved it.

  16. nediunedited says:

    I loved this film! “everything you could want from a thriller: tight, intelligent and well thought out.” AMEN. Well said.

    I’ve heard an American remake has been considered–I would find it hard to replace Aksel Hennie in the lead–he is so perfect.

    Later! 😀

    • This is another case of an American remake simply being completely pointless, it just doesn’t need to exist. Same with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This version is perfect as it is, it doesn’t need an English language version. If people don’t want to read the subtitles (I don’t always feel like reading them to be honest depending on my mood) then they’re missing out!

  17. Beer Movie says:

    Nice review man and I agree with everything you said. Tis a really sharp little thriller.

  18. Nice review. I’ve been thinking of giving this a spin!

  19. Monkeyboy says:

    Nice review. It’s a great little film.

  20. I’m watching this one this week (hopefully) it is in my netflix queue. Glad to see a high score from you here!

  21. Nostra says:

    This almost felt like an American movie to me. They will probably end up remaking this, but I really liked it, including that dark humour. Reading about it again makes me want to rewatch it.

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