First of all, I have to give you all a warning. DON’T WATCH THIS WITH THE ENGLISH VOICE OVER! You do this and it will ruin the whole film. The movie is expertly shot, yet the dubbing track sounds like some cheesy 80’s movie. The music is terrible. I started to watch it with the voice over track and had to restart it so that it was in Norwegien with the English subtitles. Only the was I able to enjoy it fully.
Ok, now with that out of the way, I can settle down and tell you more about the film. With the success of The Millenium Trilogy (or also known as The Girl with… series of films), the producers decided to try their hand at transferring Jo Nesbo’s book HEADHUNTERS. Now, I have never read the book, so I don’t know how faithful to the book the film actually is. All I do know is that I really liked it.
The movie starts off with our anti-hero, Roger, explaining the best way to break into someones’ house to steal valuable works of art. Its methodical and very well thought out. Just as he has completed his heist, it cuts to Roger the Headhunter. For those who don’t know, a Headhunter is someone who activle seeks out employees for big companies, usually by poaching them for rival companies.
The next scene is a bit of an “A-ha!” moment, for you find out how Roger selects his targets. It is very subtly done during the interviews that he carries out as part of his day job. So with the information at hand, including if anyone is at home, what are the person has and if they have a dog, he contacts his inside man at the security firm that, apparantly all high level Norwegian businessmen employ to protect their homes. (Looking back, this seems a little implausible, but for the sake of the film, I’ll buy it!)
The reason for these high risk art heists, is all so he can keep a hold of his rather tall and leggy blonde wife, Diana. He even states that his latest heist, where he will bag 80,000 kroner won’t even cover the next payment of his house. His accountant contacts him to warn that he is close to bankruptcy, just as he is entering his wives first Art Exhibition. And so we are introduced to the next target….
Clas Greve is an ex-mercenary, who presently works for a defence company. He is tall, confidant and has that killer charm. Almost the exact opposite of Roger. When Roger sees him taking to his wife, you see the first signs of the green eyed monster. Roger brushes it off, only to be interested in this stranger when his wife tells him that Clas has a Ruebens painting which disappeared during the second world war.
Roger now sets up the meeting on the pretence of a job offer. Clas cuts to the chase and tells him of what he is looking for. You see it throw Roger off his game, but Roger recovers and gets the information that he needs to steal the painting. It is at this point the film shifts.
From here out, the movie takes a very sinister tone. Roger, suspecting that his wife is having an affair with Clas after finding her phone in Clases appartment, decides to take revenge by denying Clas the job, even though the interview with the company who hired him to find a CEO, seems to go well.
This is where the movie excells, for you are taken down the road that Clas hunts him down for stealing the painting. Somehow he knows that it is fake and is intent on wreking his revenge.
Its high octane stuff and no holds bars. Roger literally is on the run to save his life. Through this chase, you see how ruthless Clas is. With everyone he could turn to dead, thinking he is responsible for the murder of an innocent bystander, or apparantly with Clas. (I’m talking about Rogers Wife), Roger turns to his former mistress, who he broke up with only a couple of days ago.
The twist here was brilliant and we find out the real reason why Clas is after Roger. We find out that Clas had forced Lotte, Rogers former mistress to strike up a relationship. The reason why, I will keep quiet about. She also implicates Rogers wife in the plot. With his world crashing down around him, we enter the final act of the film. It’s a satisfying conclusion and really edge of your seat stuff.
All of the actors, except for the actor playing Clas are unkown to me. Clas is played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Nikolai plays Jamie Lannister on Game of Thrones and to be honest, this was one of the reasons why I wanted to watch this film.
However, all the other actors are just as good. By having to read the subtitles, it forced me to watch the actors more closely. You get to see the little changes in body language that you might miss in an English movie.
Kudos has to go to the actor who played Roger, Aksel Hennie. He manages to play the cocky art thief very convincingly, but really shines when Roger goes on the run. You see that this is a man who doesn’t want to go to these lengths. Art theft isn’t supposed to have these sorts of risks. Roger is resourceful and really does make so difficult decisions in order to survive.
Nikolaj also shows us why he was brought to the attention of the makers of Game of Thrones. He manages to pull off this very ruthless character with ease. True, he isn’t in the film for very much When he is, you know that he is always analysing his surrounding. What is nice is the fact that he seems so normal. You just think that he is some rich businessman, who is looking for his next challenge. It is only as we find out more about his backstory, do you see how dangerous this man really is. When he plays, he plays for keeps.
So, if you are a fan of Scandanavian crime films or TV shows, check out this film. It leaves you second guessing right up to the end. This is the type of movies most American film studios strive to emmulate, but most of the time fail to reach. If, like me, you have seen the orignal version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and its sequals, this film should be next on your “To Watch” list.
BUY THE DVD