4/16/12

HEADHUNTERS - REVIEW


It's hunting season and Norway is on the prowl once again.

After Trollhunter comes Headhunters, a movie about a slimy headhunter who spends his time secretly stealing artworks and replacing them with forgeries. Shockingly, what was meant to be his last "job" goes crazily wrong with the guy he was stealing from turning out to be a little bit of a psycho with more than a little hint on our man's shady doings. Think Michael Fassbender kicking nazi ass in X-Men: First Class but in Norway, in the present and with a dog.

What the film lack in Trolls, it makes up for in good old-fashioned brutality and a welcome dark sense of humour. Our main character, Roger (played by Aksel Hennie), goes through a lot in this one. Yes, this is one of those movies in which you follow someone who is f***ed beyond belief and you get to sit back and watch that ant melt under a magnifying glass. That's basically the only way we could have ever learned to like this douchebag and it does work. By the end it's like: give the guy a smoothie and a bath, will ya?

I mean this is a story which involves him sinking into a giant box of shit, impaling dogs, surviving car crashes and going from boss to bum in a heartbeat. It feels like pure paranoia with this guy slowly going insane but he's not, he's just in an insane amount of danger. I love this film's sense of humour, it really is as dark as night but saves the film from being just another boring Tell No One-style thriller (sorry, didn't like that one). Whether it's the sight of a dog impaled on a moving tractor or obese twin cops squashing our hero at the back of a car during a tense pre-crash sequence Headhunters manages to be great fun throughout no matter how unpleasant the situation gets. Also, the film slyly introduces the notion of microscopic tracking devices that could potentially be on ANY part of your body without your knowledge: simply sci-fantastic.

What brings the film down, though, is its occasionally pedestrian approach to storytelling. The whole intro/outro bits almost make it feel like you're watching a student film in that it sets up the flick whimsically in a way we've seen about a million times before. You know, the kind of quirky voice-over thing where you see some successful guy being ruthless and smooth, good at what he does but also loveably douchy while the camera swims across rooms and buildings slowly. I don't like that, it feels lazy and really did not grab my attention straight away. It's also sad that it ends like that because there was potential there to have a genuinely clever ending. Oh well...

On the whole, Headhunters is definitely worth a look with terrific performances all around: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau makes a surprisingly intimidating villain and Roger's partner in crime is brilliantly goofy. If you can look past the obvious run-of-the-mill moments, this is one hell of a ride. You might not remember it always but it's unlikely you'll forget the shit sinking scene at least.

Good stuff.

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