‘Headhunters’ is a about a man who compensates for his low self-esteem by living a lavish lifestyle that he secretly funds as an art thief.
One of the many statistics continuing to emerge since the economic crisis is people, particularly those in the United States, are consistently living beyond their means. They are in greater debt than ever before and the load is not decreasing. But what could be the reason for digging such a hole? For the main character in Headhunters, his motivation is love.
Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a corporate recruiter, also known as a headhunter. He is excellent in his role, but it still does not support his expensive attempts to materially satisfy a wife (Synnøve Macody Lund) he believes is too good for him. To supplement his income, he moonlights as a high-end art thief. With the help of a crooked employee (Eivind Sander) at a security firm, he stealthily breaks into the homes of his executive clients, steals their pricey art and replaces it with a mediocre reproduction. However when an ambitious CEO (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) threatens his precarious balance, Roger is forced into a situation he never could have anticipated.
The film gets off to a moderate start, essentially recording a day in the life of Roger Brown. Events include bringing coffee to his stunning, naked wife; having a superficial, extra-marital affair; and conning his latest client into sharing details about his art collection, which he then plots to and eventually steals. All of these proceedings are narrated by Roger, providing insights and general commentary which carries through the end of the film. At times this voiceover is amusing, but more often than not it seems intrusive; particularly as the movie nears its conclusion.
Though the picture starts off slowly, it eventually becomes a pretty intense thriller. The wild and irrational cat and mouse chase is generally shocking in terms of the lengths both sides are willing to go to come out on top. The “bait and switch” is somewhat of a theme in this film, both for the characters and the audience as the reason for the insane chase is revealed to be less obvious than expected.
The Norwegian sense of humour is darker than some may be accustomed to, but if you can avoid dwelling on the awfulness of the situation, it’s actually quite funny. Much of it revolves around injury or some other assault on the body or senses, which does require a certain sense of humour to appreciate. On the other hand, if you are going to be horrified by these moments, it could work on a different level.
Headhunters makes literal both of the word’s definitions, producing two different movies that don’t smoothly lead into one another but are relatively enjoyable anyway.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring:Aksel Hennie, Synnøve Macody Lund and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau