Thursday, 26 April 2012

Headhunters, dir. Morten Tyldum, scr. Lars Gudmestad, Ulf Ryberg, based on Hodejegerne by Jo Nesbø, st. Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnøve Macody Lund

Here's more of that Scandinavian Noir that's currently en vogue, although this time around containing much humour, an attribute you'd be forgiven for thinking was largely absent from the genre. Napoleon-complexed Roger Brown (Hennie) has a successful job as a corporate headhunter but also moonlights as an art thief in order to pay for his lavish lifestyle and ensure his Amazonian wife Diana's (Lund) happiness. She wants a child, he's too tangled in the double-life web he's woven to really know what he wants, but when an opportunity presents itself to rid himself of his mounting debt by stealing a genuine Rubens, he can't resist one last job. The film flip-flops between (albeit inky-black) comedy and all the thrills and tension of an accomplished chase-movie, and much of your enjoyment will hinge on whether the genre-blending works for you. What is palpable though is the sense of Roger really going through the mill - physically as well as psychologically - whether breathlessly attempting to evade the law, hiding in an outhouse cesspit, or being shunted off a cliff trapped in a car. His ordeal is wonderfully, bone-crunchingly real. One of the later scenes sees him emotionally broken, confessing his regret and love to his wife; it's a narrative beat you see coming a mile off, but for all its predictability, and much like the film as a whole, it's moving and compelling to watch.