Headhunters / Hodejegerne (15)

Directed by Morten Tyldum
Written by Jo Nesbo (novel), Lars Gudmestad and Ulf Ryberg (screenplay)
On release from Friday 6th April 2012
FACT Liverpool

Reviewed by Redskye

I have to say this is one of the best films I've seen in years, it's a Norwegian-German film and extremely well photographed, the pace and editing are absolutely superb with a storyline that is beyond comparison. It is European film at its best but there are rumours that there will be a Hollywood remake, which is a shame as this is everything your average Hollywood film isn't, except that it has English subtitles.

Early on we get to know Roger Brown (a very non-Norwegian name) embodying the most modern Norwegian yuppie you'll ever see from the power suit to the materialistic attitude. Roger is played by actor Aksel Hennie and his main insecurity is his height, he is 1.68m – 5foot 6inches, I had to work that out when I got home – which leaves him feeling emasculated, especially since his wife is noticeably taller than him, picture Tom Cruise alongside Nicole Kidman and you get the idea. His wife wants to discuss having a baby, but Roger doesn't, preferring instead to lavish extravagant gifts upon his wife and supposedly living way beyond his income, however it becomes clear that being a headhunter isn’t his only line of work. By night he is a rather successful art thief and in one scene we see him dressed in what can best be described as a Ninja suit while out on an ‘art’ venture.

The opening scene shows his wife holding a social occasion at a gallery, here Roger is introduced to Danish/Dutchman Clas Greve and is informed by his wife that Greve has a very valuable painting by Rubens worth millions. Clas is considerably taller than Roger and he notices how his wife is impressed. Along with his sleazy partner Ove, who is in love with a Russian prostitute, they plan to steal and sell on the valuable painting which Roger hopes will solve all his financial problems; for Roger it's now personal.

The plot is highly unpredictable unlike most mainstream Hollywood that tends to insult our intelligence as an audience. This film twists and turns like a rollercoaster, it's like opening all your best ever Christmas presents as a child in one go, every scene reveals either beautifully picturesque photography or striking plot subjects, then you get to pull a cracker or two of surreal comedy as dry as Ryvita crisp bread. Hollywood can't do this; this is a characteristic European film. Nordic film and TV drama has delivered some absolute gems recently. Here in this film there is space and time given to develop characters and encourage you to get comfortable right before shaking you up, shocking you and possibly even making you a little tearful near the end, not forgetting the surreal comedy peppered here and there. Yes there's blood and a couple of shootouts as well as both male and female nudity, but never gratuitously cheap or titillating.

Go see this before you're left with only the Hollywood remake. I will most definitely buy it on DVD when it comes out later in the year, so it's 5 out of 5 stars from me. Tusen Takk!

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