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aksel hennie, jo nesbo, morten tyldum

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Old 1st May 2012, 13:37   #1
ono no komachi
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Default Headhunters

Headhunters is an adapation of a story by Jo Nesbo, directed by Morten Tyldum. I’ve not read any of Nesbo’s books myself, but I have bought a couple for my Ageing Parent, who loves a gruesome murder or two, so I had an idea that there might be a bit of blood here and there. I wasn’t wrong.

You wouldn’t necessarily know this at the beginning of the film, though. Roger Brown, played by Aksel Hennie, is a senior headhunter, or, less dramatically, a recruitment agent. At the beginning of the film we see him berating a powerful executive for not playing sufficiently hard-to-get, which sets the tone for this not very likeable character. It transpires that Roger is also an art thief, whose crimes enable him to give his wife Diana (Synnøve Macody Lund) lavish gifts and an extravagant lifestyle, including opening her own art gallery, where he meets powerful Danish businessman Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Roger learns that Clas has inherited an apartment in Oslo which might contain an extremely valuable painting, and sets in motion a plan to steal it. He needs an excuse to get to know Clas, so uses as a pretext a desire to position Clas to take an extremely lucrative position in a major corporation.

The audience gets a feeling for how Roger has managed to become this successful art thief as they become privy to the complex and meticulous planning that goes into the intended theft.

Of course, things go awry and Roger is forced to go on the run, still hoping to retain the painting and at some point reap the rewards. However it turns out that Clas is a former Special Forces soldier, highly skilled in tracking his quarry and having the very latest technological aids to assist him in doing so. Unsurprisingly therefore, escape is by no means straightforward for Roger and he finds himself resorting to ever more desperate measures, including at one point allowing himself to be arrested, which is a decision which does not turn out well.

There are some satisfying twists, and some effectively wince-making bursts of violence. The director evidently has a keen sense of the ridiculous and I confess to have laughed out loud at a number of not very tasteful moments of visual black comedy. If you sit back and allow yourself to be entertained by the insane roller-coaster of the plot without worrying too much about the credibility of certain details, it’s a pretty enjoyable film. Bonkers, but enjoyable.

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