Film Review: Headhunters (Hodejegerne)
Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Synnøve Lund, Nikolaj Coster-wildau
Rating: 5 stars
I can’t recall an image since as bold as a naked, excrement-covered man driving a tractor that just so happens to have a dog skewered to the front of it.
Warning: The below trailer contains content of a violent and sexual nature which may offend some viewers.
Roger Brown (played by the insatiable Aksel Hennie) is a CEO of his own recruitment firm, hiring managerial talent for other companies. In order to fuel his material lifestyle, he also moonlights as an art thief, stealing valuable canvases from his own clientele to compensate for his post-modern habitat and the gifts he showers his wife with. But when Roger decides to steal a priceless Rubens off Clas, a former mercenary (Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-wildau), he becomes the prey of a ruthless and orchestrated hunt.
More than just the next instalment of ongoing Nordic excitement, Headhunters is easily one of the most engaging films I have ever had the pleasure to see. The narrative twists that encompass the film (and there are many) are not only a credit to both Nesbø and the films screenwriters (Lars Gudmestad and Ulf Ryberg) but the tasteful pace it is executed with illustrates a master class in screen adaptation from the films director, Morten Tyldum. The iconography of this film is so impressive as to be compared with the likes of The Godfather. I can’t recall an image since as bold as a naked, excrement-covered man driving a tractor that just so happens to have a dog skewered to the front of it. Far from the thriller it is labelled as, Headhunters is, in fact, a mosaic of ethical questions; revenge metamorphoses between emotional, financial and the physically brutal. The theme of possession is rendered as engulfing and toxic. Roger becomes a simplistic dot on an inescapable GPS system for Clas (alluring to terrifying parallels with the autonomy that Google Earth possesses) whilst Rogers relationship with his wife, Diana (Synnøve Lund), forces the disjunction and reconciliation to occur between lust, pride, loneliness and love.
Headhunters is that rarity in cinema that manages to encapsulate human frailty at its weakest and most complex point. The assumptions it instigates towards its audience (none I can digress into for fear of spoiling it) culminate towards one of the most satisfying revelations I have ever walked out of a cinema with. Unfortunately, what’s not scarce at the moment are big-budget studio remake’s that question its raison d’être for the excuse of a quick buck.