You guys will have to excuse me if my entry this week seems a bit light on text, but for me to divulge too much about the 2011 Norwegian film, Headhunters, would be counter-productive to exactly what makes it so enjoyable. While I do enjoy sending you guys on wild rides with the movies I choose for you weekly, this is a ride in the wildest “we are at a carnival and this ride we are on was built by carnies and may very well fall apart at any moment” kind of ride. This is the kind of ride where you don’t see the twists and turns coming, and that makes your heart go in your throat, which makes the whole ride that much more exciting. A roller coaster in the dark where, at any point, if you are leaning too far in either direction without knowing it, you could be beheaded.
It is called Headhunters, after all. And what a ride it is.
Headhunters is a cerebral-action-thriller based off an amazing 2008 novel of the same name. It is about a man named Roger Brown, played by Askel Hennie who will BLOW YOU AWAY with his performance as Norway’s best head hunter (meaning he places people into matching jobs of great wealth and power), and on the side, he keeps his lavish lifestyle afloat and keeps his wife happy by being a rather remarkable art thief. And all is well in his world, or so it seems.
Thing is, nothing we do is without consequences, and everything catches up to us, eventually.
Love is terrifying, so this image works on atleast TWO levels.
One evening out on the town, his wife, who is a gallery owner, introduces Roger to a man named Clas Greve (played brilliantly by JAMIE LANNISTER, YA’LL), who claims he is an executive who wants to work for Pathfinder, the company Roger is currently head hunting for. Immediately, you can feel the “alpha” tension between these two. They are like two wolves who both know the other is a threat to the order of the pack, so whenever they get around each other, they sort of circle each other, with the hair on their back standing on end. It is amazing to see them both underplay it, yet play with it enough so that the audience can FEEL them trying to stifle it. The tension is palpable, and that begins our ride.
As I am sure you can imagine, just from two things I named so far, “art thief” and “Jamie Lannister”, you know things are going to get rather complex, and that people are not at all going to be who they seem in this world of thievery, million dollar transactions, and failing relationships. Okay, you drooling with anticipation yet? This is usually when I drop the trailer, to keep you foaming at the mouth, so here you go.
There is so much badassery in this movie, your head will spin, thrice.
So as you can see, it ends up unfolding almost like a mystery. Who is double crossing whom? There are so many hands on this chess board at one time, you had best be quick witted and pay attention to small plot details, or you will miss something essential. This is not a movie for The Fast and the Furious crowd. This is not a movie for the A Good Day To Die Hard crowd. This is an action movie for people who know what Mensa is. This is an action movie for people who know reading captions DOES NOT detract from a film. This is an action movie for people who like big questions,but like even bigger answers. A treat for the eyes and some exercise for the mind. Two hours very well spent, I would say.
And like I oft do with my choices, there are two performances in general I want to talk about here.
First, I want to talk about Askel Hennie as Roger. This dude is a powerhouse in real life. Young, award winning and rich, and the more I find out about him, the more he seems to truly mirror his Roger character in this film. Here, go see for yourself. And the performance he delivers in this movie is insane. The lengths he goes, the things he makes himself endure, is out of control. This is no performance. This man gets beaten down, and by the end, you see it and feel it.
And that outhouse scene?
Holy shit to that, pun intended.
” I will blow this milk’s fucking brains out if you don’t give me what I want.”
Next up, Nikolas Coster-Waldau as Clas Greve. I mean, we all already love (and hate, and love) this dude as Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones, and there is no doubt that the two characters, Jamie and Clas, would get along famously if their paths crossed. They are both driven, powerful, and when they set their mind to something, regardless of what it is, they see it through. This is a powerhouse performance, and stacked next to what Askel Hennie does as Roger, not only do these characters seemingly struggle and duel in the film, the performances duel, with each moment being more impressive than the last.
Speaking of the last. Payoffs, payoffs, payoffs. That is all I will say about that. Don’t walk away from this movie at any point without pausing, assuming you won’t miss anything important. Everything in this movie is important, and nothing is cheap or gimmicky. It all gets tied up in a perfect little package with a shiny red bow, and considering the chaos and anarchy you are experiencing in the middle of this movie, that is quite an achievement.
” Let’s the The Mother of Dragons fuck with me now!”
So stop what you are doing immediately and check out Headhunters. It will make you realize that, as poor as you are, your job is not as bad as you thought it was. Sometimes, the “cut throat” business world can be literal. Mo’ money, mo’ problems, yo. Biggie must’ve been right.