Headhunters | Film review
A Norwegian noir unravels in gleeful fashion.
Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is aware of his shortcomings. That’s what comes from being a successful corporate headhunter, having a statuesque blond wife (Synnøve Macody Lund) and topping out heightwise at 5'6": You overcompensate with the finer things, from expensive meals to the latest fashions. But when disposable income inevitably dwindles, what do you do? For Roger, the answer is simple: moonlight as an art thief.
That would be enough of a premise for most movies, but this crazily amusing thriller, adapted from a popular novel by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø, isn’t content to stick with heist genre conventions. After Roger steals the painting of a slickly charming business rival (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), our self-assured, snappily dressed protagonist’s perfect life spectacularly unravels. As the twists and turns get nuttier, so do the set pieces—there’s a gleefully retchworthy suspense scene in an outhouse, as well as a comically macabre car crash in which two obese cops are used as human air bags. Hennie, who looks like a Nordic clone of Christopher Walken, makes for a splendidly charming antihero. Though the film wraps up its spinning-plates narrative a little too neatly, this is still a Scandi-noir to die for.