Headhunters (15)

Film

Thrillers

Askel Hennie in Headhunters

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Apr 3 2012

What’s the worst thing that can happen to a movie character? Shot, stabbed, beaten, tortured? How about exiled, chased, shot, impaled, betrayed, sacked, savaged by a pitbull, involved in a tractor crash, chucked off a cliff and forced to hide under six feet of human shit?

Luckily, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy. Director Morten Tyldum’s juggernaut thriller, based on Norwegian author Jo Nesbø’s bestselling novel, stems from a simple but hugely satisfying idea: serve up an eminently hissable central character, in this case part-time art thief and full-time corporate douchebag Roger (Aksel Hennie, who looks like the love child of Steve Buscemi and Rupert Grint). Then sit back and smile as he tangles with the wrong folks and is subjected to the most humiliating indignities this smart, streamlined script can invent.

When we meet Roger, he’s happily married to a gorgeous woman (Synnøve Macody Lund), having a fling on the side and preparing to help himself to the priceless Munch lithograph owned by high-flying Swedish executive and former elite soldier Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Of course, we know it’s all a ploy – that Greve is luring Roger in for his own devious reasons, and that things are about to go horribly wrong – but it’s how Nesbø and Tyldum spring the trap that’s so enjoyable to watch. 

It’s a timely film, too: while Nesbø and Tyldum’s prime directive is to give their audience a good bracing shake, they also find time to throw in a few witty, thoughtful asides about personal responsibility and the ways in which the relentless pursuit of wealth conflict with the achievement of true happiness. Bankers and business types may prickle at their blanket portrayal as greedy, self-serving misanthropes, but it serves to slot the film neatly within the current anti-capitalist zeitgeist.

But none of this would matter a jot if Tyldum didn’t have such a firm grasp of his material. The plot moves like a rocket, the despicable characters are marvellously sketched, and if ‘Headhunters’ is not always entirely convincing (a few twists take a bit of swallowing), it’s always deliriously entertaining. Anyone tired of the surly, leather-jacketed seriousness of the ‘Millennium’ trilogy and looking for more spark and spice in their Scandinavian crime sagas need seek no further. Pure joy.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Apr 6, 2012

Duration:

100 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|25
1 person listening
angelclare

Cracking start then downhill all the way as the plot descends into farce. Impropable, implausible and downright mystifying in parts. Why is Jo Nesbo so perplexingly popular when there are fine, psychologically complex and compelling novels by Karin Fossum begging for adaptation. With Scorcese's Snowman waiting in the wings, another lurid pennydreadful to add to his cannon that will sit nicely next to the pedestrianShutter Island/Cape Fear, methinks you can't make silks purses out of populist pulp, at least not on this poor showing.

Francis

Rented it yesterday,i am a bit disapointed compared with the book I read 2 years ago.I just wonder how people can understand the plot at all maybe that does't matter. Overall it is entertaining but something is missing.

william

i think this fim is very good. The story tell us about a life in the outside world. we can learn something good from this film.

william

i think this fim is very good. The story tell us about a life in the outside world. we can learn something good from this film.

villardi

Really well made and exciting movie, unlike nearly anything I'd seen before. Much more imaginative and off the wall than the last 100 US thrillers I've seen. Loved the characters and plot and almost had to look away at times during the chase in the farm. You'll see what I mean. More like these please.

scrumpyjack

Enjoyed..........but was I alone in thinking it was a LITTLE bit too pleased with itself? 7/10

good but...

I did like this, but with reservations. It was probably the most puke-inducingly gruesome, disgusting film I've ever seen. The violence to dogs was also a bit uncomfortable. But it was a very good, blackly comic thriller, and a bit unusual.

Paul

Nothing like a Timeout review that can plot spoil n the open paragraph, but I'm with Nick that this is a witty laugh out loud type of film that could be remade with Simon Pegg.when Hollywood gets round to it. Great fun

Blaize67

Great little thriller. Original and with some dry as toast Nordic humour. If you don't mind ST then this is a fab Fri night out. Recommended.

critique

Like Nick below, I took this to be dark comedy as much as thriller. Not helped by the Roger Brown character putting me in mind of a Nordic Richard Hammond, only with even worse hair.

Nick

I dont think the film is meant to eeb taken too serioulsy. I spent a lot of time supressing laughter and then laughing out loud - all in a good way.Great fun - a macabre comedy more than a thriller.

Nick

I dont think the film is meant to eeb taken too serioulsy. I spent a lot of time supressing laughter and then laughing out loud - all in a good way.Great fun - a macabre comedy more than a thriller.

UglyGeezer

Saw this last week and it felt really fresh. A decent on the edge of your seat thriller. Yes there are plot-holes galore, but it's a great ride. If you're a fan of the Coen Brothers or were enthralled by The Usual Suspects this film will please. Give the lead an Oscar America (superb!) but please don't remake it.

Mike

I'm glad I've seen this film, as soon after the Oscars good films are often hard to find. That said, I found some of the plot too clever, too well tied up, perhaps a little smug. . This film's from the same stable as the original 'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' (Yellow Bird - production). It's a good well-paced thriller, but there comes a point where some of the plot becomes so totally unbelievable - mainly because it's all too convenient. Well-acted, well-photographed, but somehow lacking something. . ARCHGATE (below) jokes that Hollywood's bound to pick up the rights on this film and attempt a remake, as with their ham-fisted "Girl with the dragon tattoo". Many a true word spoken in jest. If you click the "Press" link on the YellowBird website you'll see Hollywood's already bought the English language version (groan). . Conclusion: Not sure I'd bust a gut to see this, but given what else is on offer right now, it made for a good evening's entertainment. Three stars.

Justin Berkovi

Absolutely fantastic fun. This was way better than I expected and wonderfully acted by Aksel Hennie. This is why I like going to the cinema - I'm not going to reveal any of the plot but just go and see it, it's a full on film from start to finish and hugely enjoyable.

Justin Berkovi

Absolutely fantastic fun. This was way better than I expected and wonderfully acted by Aksel Hennie. This is why I like going to the cinema - I'm not going to reveal any of the plot but just go and see it, it's a full on film from start to finish and hugely enjoyable.

Sutton

Superb ! Best film so far in 2012, it had everything, fast paced, humour, suspense and a moral. I've sat through far too many average art house and critic worshipped films this year, but this was pure enjoyment. Sure, there are a few 'stretched' points, but this was a very good film.

Sutton

Superb ! Best film so far in 2012, it had everything, fast paced, humour, suspense and a moral. I've sat through far too many average art house and critic worshipped films this year, but this was pure enjoyment. Sure, there are a few 'stretched' points, but this was a very good film.