Film: Headhunters (2011)
Cast includes: Aksel Hennie (Max Manus: Man of War), Synnøve Macody Lund, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Black Hawk Down)
Director: Morten Tyldum (Fallen Angels)
Genre: Crime, Action, Thriller (98 minutes) Norwegian with subtitles
"Rules #1 through 4, leave nothing to chance. Rule #5... One of two things will happen. You'll either find a great masterpiece that makes it possible to retire, or you'll get caught." Roger Brown is an art thief. He introduces himself to us in a voiceover: He's 5'6", he has a house he can't afford, a car he can't afford and a tall beautiful wife, Diana, who likes those things. She regularly attracts the attention of other men... all of them taller. Diana has a stylish art gallery that Roger seems to support. Diana wears gorgeous clothes and jewelry... gifts from her devoted husband. He can't afford any of it. He has a good job as a headhunter, but that's not how he pays for everything. Roger steals artwork. He's got a system -- he's disciplined, clever and he's good. When he interviews candidates for a job as CEO of Pathfinder, he chats them up. "Are you married? Have a dog? Have a maid? What kind of art do you like?" When he finds a hot prospect, he's focused and professional... but still drowning in debt.
At Diana's latest gallery opening, Roger notices that she seems to be kissing everyone... especially the tall men. Tonight she has something to celebrate. An old friend, Clas Greve is moving back to Oslo. Clas -- tall and painfully good-looking -- has inherited his grandmother's house along with a valuable painting by Rubens he'd like to sell... and he wants Diana to handle the sale. But Roger would rather steal it instead. He decides to interview Clas for the Pathfinder job. But the interview doesn't go quite the way it should. "Why don't we drop the charade?" says Clas. We learn that Clas had a long career in the army in a unit that specialized in tracking people. Somehow, we're not surprised. And while Clas looks like a formidable opponent in every way, that Rubens could be the answer to all of Roger's problems.
So far, the film is clever, tricky and very stylish. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? But not so fast! As Roger's golden opportunity starts coming unraveled, things take a decidedly nasty turn. Clas' skill at tracking people doesn't bode well for Roger. And it's not long before we realize that this thing is not entirely about the painting. The film is still clever and tricky, but stylish gets replaced with nasty, violent, gory and irreverent. There aren't any good guys in this saga, but we're rooting for the underdog... even though it seems hopeless at times. Aksel Hennie's Roger earns our favor the hard way. Be warned... if you aren't amused by nasty, dark humor, you may find this one quite disgusting. But if you're game, this tricky tale is quite clever, indeed. In the credits, they say, "No animals were harmed in the making of this film." That's about the only politically correct part of the entire movie!
3 popped kernels
This tricky, stylish, crime caper takes a decidedly nasty turn when things go desperately wrong.
Rated: R (Violence)
Audience: Young adults
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Not that kind of film
Social Significance: Pure entertainment
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