Watched Jul 03, 2012
Steve Grzesiak’s review:
It's a pretty good indicator of just how lazy those who work in the film based media can be these days. After all, can you find a single sodding review in newspapers, magazines or film websites of Headhunters that doesn't make a mention of Stieg Larsson and/or his Millennium trilogy?
Because, let's face it, him and Jo Nesbo both wrote/write crime fiction and they're both from that cold bit at the top of Europe! Christ on a bike, with the similarities never end?! Next they'll be telling us they both wear socks! Headhunters is really nothing like that.
It is instead a crime thriller about a company headhunter who also happens to be an art thief on the side. When he attempts to rip off his latest planned recruit, however, things take a turn for the unpleasant and, occasionally, absolutely mental. But I mean that in a good way, because once you realise this is not a film to be taken entirely seriously, it is tremendous fun.
In fact, about halfway through it ends up being more like The Fugitive than anything else, and the signs are there that it was a great influence on this film. Incredibly improbable survival of a major incident? Check. Hair alteration? Check. Bit of ducking in and out of bits of a hospital he shouldn't be in? Check. There's no one armed man, but there might as well have been.
It does pull off the entirely admirable trick of developing a really rather complicated storyline and managing not to lose you for one minute, although it does almost stretch your patience with a narrated winding up of any plot points you may have forgotten or not understood, plus an event in the private life of the lead couple that could not be more telegraphed if they tried. They don't so much hint at it, but more bludgeon it into you with a 25ft neon sign.
It doesn't matter a whole lot anyway to the general scheme of things, because it's all so tremendously enjoyable and parades its wince-inducing brutality with no qualms at all that you really don't care about the potential irritations. Aksel Hennie, looking remarkably like a cross between Christopher Walken and England batsman Jonny Bairstow, is completely enthralling in the lead role and carries the vast majority of the film almost by himself. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, as his nemesis, is also very good and it's easy to see why he's a wanted man in Hollywood.
Unbelievably good fun in more ways than one.