Films derived from the works of European novelists currently seem to be in vogue. From Henning Mankell’s ‘Wallander’ books to Stieg Larsson’s ‘Dragon Tattoo’ trilogy, all have found popular cinematic success. The latest benefitting is ‘Headhunters’ based on a novel from Norwegian author Jo Nesbo. A thriller set within the atmospheric climes of Norway it should appeal to fans eager for more international intrigue.
Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie), a corporate head-hunter seeking the best employees for large firms, lives an extravagant existence. Despite also having a gorgeous wife, Diana (Synnove Macody Lund), his spend-thrift ways catch up with him as his side-line in stealing valuable artworks is not enough. When he meets Clas (Nikolai Coster-Waldau) during a recruitment drive, Roger sees an opportunity to fleece his new client. Little does he realise the danger awaiting him as his skills become sorely tested.
‘Headhunters’ is somewhat of a confused production tonally unsure of itself. Whilst the concept of an analytical thief being confronted by the brute force of a similar counterpart is intriguing its execution falters. The cast are good bringing much to their reasonably well written roles. Unfortunately they are poorly serviced by a story emulating Quentin Tarantino’s films. His heady style of comedic violence doesn’t quite work for ‘Headhunters’ which has enough of its own flair without relying on someone else’s.
When concentrating on its own path ‘Headhunters’ is an intriguing study in material value. The quest for more money may make Roger a rather dislikeable character although it becomes easy to sympathise with his actions. His love for his wife seems paramount with his paranoia of losing her determines his actions. These elements bring much depth and maintain interest despite the increasingly ludicrous and violent sequences. If the latter moments had been taken out it would have made this a more satisfying film than the mixed bag it becomes.
With the steady influx of European movies on screens it seems the trend will continue. Whilst ‘Headhunters’ isn’t the greatest of them, it holds its own in its own quirky way.
Movie Review Rating 6 10
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at current movie releases in Australia.