By David Kempler
A Hunting Ye Should Go
Adapted from the novel by best-selling Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø, "Headhunters"
is what is so often missing in American crime and mystery thrillers. It is intelligent and filled with twists that make your head spin, but without sending groans cascading through the audience. Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is an art thief. He breaks into people's homes after carefully ascertaining when they will not be home. His cover is that he is a headhunter and while interviewing prospective job applicants he slips in questions that clue him in to whether or not he has a good mark in front of him.
Roger lives in a beautiful home with Diana (Synnøve Macody Lund), a gorgeous blonde who towers over his smallish frame. His headhunter salary could not support his extravagant lifestyle, so thievery is used as his primary source of income. Early on we view Roger as a weasely little twerp that fears his wife will leave him for a more traditionally manly man. We openly root against him, but that changes as the plot unfolds and we meet Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
Clas is everything Roger isn't. He is tall, ruggedly good-looking, and wealthy. Roger interviews Clas for a job opening but is spurned by Clas who appears disinterested, at least at first. During the interview Roger learns that Clas is in the possession of a very expensive painting so we all know where we are headed next, or at least we think we do. Director Morten Tyldum ensures that whenever we think know what's coming, we are usually wrong. Obviously the group of writers credited play a major role as well.
Everyone excels on screen, but the success of "Headhunters" can primarily be attributed to Mr. Hennie. He evokes a bit of Steve Buscemi and Christopher Walken and turns out to be quite the resourceful and clever fellow.
An American version is in the works but I'd advise you to check this one out. It's hard to imagine that the remake will capture the magic present here. This one is worth the hunt, so try and locate it.