Friday, 6 April 2012


Norway. Who'd a thought eh? Over time, we've had Japanese, Chinese, French and Spanish films all make into the spotlight long enough and big enough to not only cause a stir, but to have the often-feared words "American remake" tagged to them.

Now however, with the double pronged attack of the ignorance of some people geographically - isn't Sweden, Norway and Denmark all the same place? - and the recent hits such as Troll Hunter - it seems that Hollywood is casting its net further afield to look for its next hot hit and a re-imagining/remake based on Jo Nesbo's best selling book and this home turf movie is already under way.

And, it's not surprising to see why. Headhunters has all the ingredients for a great thriller. Infact, with its great cast of characters, its twisting plot and its MacGuffin that isn't a MacGuffin, this so could have easily been a production from the Cohen Brothers - yes, it's that good!

What seems to start off as a film about a conman, changes rapidly after a "brief and unscheduled" meet turns into a whole different kettle of art and subterfuge. The central character - who really can't be named as the hero as NO one here is clean-cut enough to be classed as one - narrates to us the way he has to keep his wife and life style intact - because of his diminished stature he has to make up for it with money and lots of it. Think of it as a more "down-to-earth Thomas Crown Affair" type of intro and you're starting to get the picture. Here it's art that's stolen but in a much simpler way with only two consequences - you'll either score big enough so that you never have to do it again, or, you'll get caught. Except this here is no Pierce Brosnan or Steve McQueen. Hennie may have the luxurious hair to match them (which will be his downfall) but here is a man who finds things quickly spiralling out of his control once the equally suave Coster-Waldau appears on the scene. He literally finds himself on the run for his life with only seconds to spare between each life-threatening encounter between himself and the other, more dangerous type of Headhunter.

For those of you familiar with TVs Game Of Thrones, you won't be surprised at how similar Coster-Waldau's character of the sexy but slimy, stab-you-in-the-back Jamie Lanister and his ex-CEO Clas Greve appear to be. What will be surprising will be his language - yes, this IS a sub-titled film, and YES, you should now not discount it for being so. Once the well-oiled life of Hennie's 1.68 meter art thief/headhunter falls remarkably off the rails, the action and thriller aspects ramp up and the dialogue becomes sparser allowing even those who hate reading sub-titles to still follow every twist and revelation as Hennie starts to put the pieces together.

Fast-paced, slick, darkly humouress and not completely predictable, Headhunters is a prime example of how a thriller should be - there's no need for A-lister's, car chases, explosions or OTT stunts (although there is a semi-chase between a tractor and a car and there is a dog being punched in the head so animal lovers be warned!)

However you do it, catch it before the US stamps all over its subtle, perverse humour and its taut characterisation - you'll be glad you did. Oh, and you'll never lie on a CV again!

UK release date: 06.04.12
Certificate: 15

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