Friday, December 20, 2013

Headhunters (2011)

HeadhuntersHeadhunters (2011 release from Norway; 100 min.) brings the tale of 5ft7 (not tall enough? just watch the movie!) Roger Brown, who is in the recruiting business (hence the movie's title), but in order to keep up his lavish life style and to continually impress his impossibly beautiful wife Diana, Roger has a side business of sorts: he, with the aide of a side kick, steals valuable art from people's homes, to sell it on the black market. All goes well until at some point Roger meets Dutch business man Clas Greve. Clas has an interesting background and might fit the profile for the CEO position that Roger's headhunting agency is trying to fill. On top of that, Clas' grandmother, who just passed away in Oslo, apparently has some extremely valuable art in her private collection...

The above is the basic premise of the movie, and to give away much more would flat-out ruin your viewing experience. Suffice it to say that not everything is what it seems to be. From the movie's beginning, the pace is relentless, and I was on the edge of my seat for much of the movie (as were most of the fellow theatre visitors I saw it with this past weekend). Indeed, there is hardly any "down" time in the movie, because once the basic premise of the movie is set, we fall from one surprise into the next, without it being "over the top" or implausible.

When this movie came out in Norway last year, it immediately was a box office smash, and that success was later repeated in many European countries. Now it's finally in the US, and by all means it should do well here to. Even though it was made in a different country than the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, "Headhunters" definitely has a similar feel about it, albeit never quite as dark as the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. In all, this movie has been one of the best surprises for me among the theatre movie releases I've seen so far in 2012. If you like a clever and exciting foreign action thriller, you cannot go wrong with this. "Headhunters" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

This one is a killer-diller! Wow! The person who recommended this one to me deserves a medal. Hodejegerne, an R-rated Norwegian crime thriller (English captions), is exciting, involving, unpredictable and intelligent. It has relatable characters, a wonderful plot and is beautifully acted. We in the audience left the theater happily talking to ourselves.

A skilled art thief hears of a priceless Rubens, stolen during WWII and kept in a private collection all these years. He realizes this could be the deal that puts him and his wife on easy street for the rest of their lives. Thus begins our story.

We see:

* Aksel Hennie ("Age of Heroes") is our pint-sized cat burglar, impeccably groomed, smart as a whip and always trying to improve his theft of high-end art. His day job is to find and interview applicants for new executive positions.

* Synnøve Macody Lund (TV roles) is his statuesque wife, blonde, successful and longing to have a baby. She owns an art gallery.

* Nikolaj Coster-Waldau ("Game of Thrones") is a former hi-tech special ops guy who wants the job as CEO of a company our hero represents. He has come to Norway to settle his aunt's estate.

* Eivind Sander ("Cupid's Balls") is our hero's fence and inside man for those pesky burglar alarms. Problem is, he rarely uses the brain in his big head. He and his libido entertain thousands on the Internet.

* Reidar Sørensen ("Home for Christmas") is the brilliant and politically astute detective who gets involved in the situation.

This fast-moving plot sucks you in before you know it. There is tension, surprise, and impressive use of modern technology: GPS, cell phones and the Internet. Expect guns, knives, cars, trucks, attack dogs, and a farm tractor, plus a couple of really gross bits. There is little or no profanity or blowie uppie stuff. The two antagonists are Norwegian versions of the Energizer Bunny: they just won't quit! And I LOVE watching smart people try to outwit other smart people.

This comes out on DVD at Amazon on 08-28-12. Brace yourself!

Buy Headhunters (2011) Now


Hollywood remakes foreign movies for our convenience of eliminating the subtitle hassle, and out of arrogance. Eh, don't let them touch this one. THEY WILL RUIN IT TO ALL GLORY!!! It is just fine. I did the hard work of: stop, rewind, play, pause, etc. And, it was worth it!! I literally found myself trying to talk to the main character (the seedy guy making his buck) to hold it together and not get killed! This movie was smart, unpredictable at times, and just simplistically beautiful. I had lucked out through my search with this one. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS FILM!!! NO USUAL MOVIE CLICHES in this one!!! You will not do the 'yeah, yeah, yeah...'

Hollywood is slipping... There are foreign films out there like this one that are so much more memorable.

Americans, get off the straight a way highway were you zone out. Be a little more active, exert a little more mental energy, and WATCH MOVIES LIKE THIS ONE!!! It will be worth your night!!!

Read Best Reviews of Headhunters (2011) Here

I have always had a big interest in Scandinavian films. I don't often come across them in my neck of the woods, but almost always I end up loving their films. Once I saw the trailer for the Norwegian film Headhunters, based on the novel by the increasingly popular author Jo Nesbø, I just had a feeling I would love it.

The film is introduced by its main character, Roger Brown (Askel Hennie), who gives us the insight into his life. One the outside, the relatively short man has a glamorous life complete with a fancy house, nice car, expensive suits, and a gorgeous wife (a breakout performance by newbie Synnøve Macody Lund). As they usually are, things are different behind the scenes for Roger. Aside from some issues with his marriage, Roger happens to also have the secret of being an art thief when he's not doing his day job as a corporate headhunter.

Roger's wife, Diana, happens to own an art gallery. As fate would have it, an acquaintance of Diana's, Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) tells her about a very rare painting he is in the possession of. Upon hearing of this, Roger decides this is his next mark. Roger, along with his accomplice Ove (Eivind Sander) coordinate the heist. The situation turns out to be more than what Roger bargained for when its discovered Clas is a former mercenary and a big wig of a tech company that makes GPS tracking devices.

The film's sly sense of humor and charismatic lead immediately drew me into the picture, but I have to say once the action of the plot kicked in, I couldn't turn away. I honestly didn't expect the action the film had, and the several twists and turns it took. The movie just doesn't let up, but it's far more than just being about the action. The storyline is clever and exciting and the film does a great job of building on the characters and making us feel something for them.

Headhunters is yet another example of how the Scandinavians are doing something so right that Hollywood can't seem to grasp. The movie was an exciting thriller while also having a well thought out plot and well written characters. What I really appreciated was the amount of dark humor the film had, which wasn't arbitrarily added in, it naturally added some comic relief without being turning the film into a farce. There's also the drama between the characters, especially Roger and Diana, that felt genuine and again built on our feelings towards the characters.

This film is likely my favorite of the year. It had it all: crime, action, plot twists, and the pacing was perfect. The film looks great and has a cool style to it, but it manages to pull of being a stylish flick without showboating or coming off as being full of itself. Headhunters is certainly a serious film, but it's intelligent way of combining the many aforementioned traits keep it quite entertaining.

Source: 28 December 2012

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The character development was strong, the build up and execution of the action sequences was brilliant. Had me on the edge of seat and completely enthralled. Original, clever, superb.

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