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IFFBoston ’12 Review: Headhunters

Headhunters is one of the most edge of your seat, darkly funny, action packed films that I’ve seen in a long time. This Norwegian Action/Crime/Thriller from Morten Tyldum is violent, at time gruesome, but our main protagonist finds himself in so many crappy situations (this’ll make more sense once you see the movie), you can’t help but laugh.

The film tells the story of Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie), a man who on the surface, has it all. He has a beautiful wife, Diana (Synnøve Macody Lund). A beautiful, lavish home, a fancy car. Roger is a corporate headhunter, he recruits and recommends high level executives to various firms in the area.

But really, Roger’s passion is stealing fine works of art. He uses his position to gain information, creates replicas, and swaps them out for the real thing, all while his mark is at an interview.

Along comes Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Roger meets Clas at a gallery his wife has just opened, and sees an opportunity of recruitment. In early retirement, Clas has relocated to Oslo after the GPS/Tracking company he worked for is bought up by an American corporation.

Roger learns via Diana, that Clas has a rare painting that was stolen by the Nazi’s during WWII. His mind starts scheming, should he risk stealing the priceless art owned by a former mercenary? Of course he should, we are watching a movie aren’t we?

The film takes twists and turns, as Roger’s perfect plan’s get torn apart. Like any good thriller, not everything is as it seems.

Headhunters is stark, cold, and mostly gray and white – fitting for the location. The performances are superb, you literally see a transformation in Roger Brown as the story progresses.

The film is shocking and violent at times, but it all fits the rather complex, well thought out story. They do such a good job at putting Roger in imminent danger constantly, that  the audience finds themselves at the edge of their seats for most of the picture.

I enjoyed this film immensely, distributed by Magnolia Pictures, it will no doubt be in limited release, and absolutely hit the rental market by the end of the year.

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