Some films follow an alternative path, refusing to run with the herd and throwing up shocks and surprises along the way. Headhunters fits that bill.
Aksel Hennie is the corporate headhunter who uses his interviewing skills to identify rich clients with costly artworks in their homes. Then, in cahoots with a security guard who can shut down alarm systems, he breaks in and steals the loot.
All goes well until he is out-witted by one of his “candidates”. Suddenly his ordered and very comfortable world – palatial home, statuesque trophy wife – becomes less important than staying alive as his nemesis tracks him across an unfriendly landscape.
Headhunters (aka Hodejegerne) defies categorisation. It combines elements of dark comedy with moments of raw terror, some setpiece scenes – gun battle, car chase, paranoid stand-off – whilst having the nerve to pepper the story with oddball characters and subplots that keep the pacing alive and kicking.
Aksel Hennie is the star of this riveting tale and gives a breakthrough performance as the desperate ‘suit’ in a fix, and out of his depth. Smooth Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is his smiling opponent and film critic-turned-actress Synnøve Macody Lund is the Amazonian wife around whom the emotion of the story revolves.
A Norwegian drama based on a novel by Jo Nesbø, Headhunters is also director Morten Tyldum’s passport to an international marketplace with bigger budgets and, arguably, bigger stars. Nonetheless this impressive genre-bender is a crowd-pleaser whatever language it’s in; the proposed American remake can only be a lesser, thinner, pointless replica.