Director: Morten Tyldum.
Screenplay: Lars Gudmestad and Ulf Ryberg
Writer: Jo Nesbøl (the novel Hodejegerne a.k.a. Headhunters)
Cast: Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnøve Macody Lund, Eivind Sander, Julie R. Ølgaard
Budget: 30.3 million Krone ($5.2 million)
If you don’t gamble, you don’t win.
– Roger Brown in Headhunters
Movie buffs (the real ones, not the Billa or Ek Tha Tiger chutiya fans) have found much to love in the Norwegian crime thriller Headhunters.
Last night, SI joined the movie’s chorus of admirers.
The film is based on popular Norwegian crime writer Jo Nesbøl’s novel Hodejegerne a.k.a. Headhunters).
As the few who can still hold a book in their hands know, some of the best crime fiction in the 21st century comes from Scandinavia.
Jo Nesbøl, like the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, has captured the imagination of millions of Europeans with a string of gripping crime novels.
Made on a modest budget, Headhunters is a riveting amalgam of solid writing, decent acting and a good bit of bloodletting.
There’s a furious energy and momentum to the movie that we rarely encounter in Hollywood these days.
Hell, even the dead come to life in one jolting scene (don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away).
Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie), a headhunter for a Norwegian human relations consulting firm, is madly in love with his 6-ft tall beautiful, sexy wife Diana Brown (Synnøve Macody Lund).
Alas, great beauty often extracts a great price.
Roger’s salary as a headhunter for the firm Alfa isn’t enough to pay the bills and the upkeep of his pretty and alluring wife Diana in high style.
The man is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
So Roger resorts to what many a besotted lover fearful of losing his pretty babe has done for centuries – Crime.
Deftly using his job as a headhunter to discover marks and in connivance with a security firm employee, Roger steals costly works of art.
One day, Roger hears of a ‘lost’ Rubens painting worth hundreds of millions now owned by a young retired corporate tycoon Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
Will that painting solve all of Roger’s financial woes?
Or is it the beginning of a downward spiral into a murderous crime spree?
No marks for getting the right answer!
Aksel Hennie is tailor-made for the role of a charming white-collar criminal dragged in well over his head into a nightmare that he finds impossible to escape.
Fear, lover, cheat, thief, adulterer, killer, hunter, hunted, betrayer, betrayed etc, Aksel Hennie handles a range of emotions and diverse situations with a great deal of aplomb.
Synnøve Macody Lund is a dazzling beauty and I bet many an Indian lund will rise 90-degree in genuflection after seeing this sexy Norwegian Lund.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is impressive as the stern, former army-man and corporate executive with a perennial grime visage.
The movie builds up the tension very well, and little was predictable to my great joy.
Borrows from Slumdog Millionaire
There’s one remarkable scene in Headhunters that should make Indians happy.
I won’t disclose the scene.
But all I’ll tell you is that it formed one of the unforgettable moments of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, which is set in Mumbai’s slums.
Like all great crime thrillers, there are some nice twists in Headhunters that you never see coming.
The writers also deserve kudos for getting the audience to focus on the ‘wrong’ suspects and the core motives behind Clas Greve’s actions.
Headhunters is available for rent on Amazon Instant ($3.99) and Netflix.
SearchIndia.com strongly recommends Headhunters to all lovers of crime thrillers.