Forging at full tilt
This Norwegian robbery thriller, based on Jo Nesbø’s novel, is fast, furious fun, writes Tara Brady
ROGER BROWN (Aksel Hennie, excellent) is Norway’s top corporate headhunter, the proud owner-occupier of a blonde trophy wife (Synnøve Macody Lund) and a multimillion- dollar home. He can’t afford either but, as he hurriedly explains, he somehow has to compensate for standing at a mere 168cm.
So how does Roger finance his glamorous spouse’s new gallery and a mistress on the side? Well, by day he’s sifting through highprofile clients, by night he’s robbing their art works and replacing them with forgeries.
Roger ought to smell a rat when the taller, more accomplished Clas Greve ( Game of Thrones’s Nikolaj Coster-waldau), shows up. Roger just happens to be interviewing candidates for a high-flying job in the GPS sector when Clas, a former military man with perfect corporate credentials, arrives in Oslo. And what’s this? Clas owns a rare, long-lost Rubens painting with Macguffin written all over it.
A twisty, hurtling, running-man thriller, director Morten Tyldum’s jaunty adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s potboiler was already in line for a Hollywood remake before it became a smash hit in its native Norway. By the time Headhunters is through with our callous, smooth-talking antihero, he’s faced down a savage pit-bull, crawled out of a car wreck and withstood a radical haircut.
Watching the increasingly frantic Roger survive an increasingly horrendous ordeal – sewage pit, anyone? – is enough to keep us cheering for an otherwise rotten little twerp, although the many misfortunes that are visited upon his person are not without their charms.
The speed and fast cuts help paper over any cracks. One tends to overlook the plot’s more ridiculous turns when they’re happening too damned quickly to dwell on.
The marketing people would probably have you believe that Headhunters is this year’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but it’s much more fun than either version of that film. Mark Wahlberg is said to be circling the project. Can the Hollywood remake possibly keep pace with Mr Tyldum’s? We certainly hope so, though it’ll have to work pretty hard.
All in a bad day’s work: Aksel Hennie under pressure in Headhunters