Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Morten Tyldum’s adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s novel “Headhunters” (“Hodejegerne”) is a tense, grisly treat. As the opening credits roll, the “hero”, Roger Brown, impeccably played by Aksel Hennie, introduces himself as a deeply flawed individual, simultaneously smug and insecure, funding his extravagant lifestyle through art theft, and using his job as a high-level corporate head-hunter to glean information from likely victims. Needless to say, it all goes deliciously wrong, following an encounter with techno-surveillance mogul and former elite soldier Clas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau); although the film spends a good deal of time prior to this establishing Brown’s obnoxiousness, and setting up the cynical nature of his interactions not only with work associates, but also with his impossibly gorgeous wife, Diana (Synnøve Macody Lund) - not to mention his girlfriend, Lotte (Julie Ølgaard). When the unpleasantness eventually kicks in, it’s slickly handled, and occasionally (necessarily) gruesome, with numerous plot-turns and plentiful dark humour – the outdoor latrine moment is especially symbolic. I’m not one of those who reflexively rails against Hollywood remakes of European masterworks (“Let Me In” was a perfectly decent revamp of “Låt den rätte komma in”; and Fincher’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” was one of the films of 2011), but Mark Wahlberg, who’s already got plans for a U.S. version (presumably with himself in the Clas role), will need to employ a screen-writer/director with the robust indie quirkiness of Tarantino, Aronovsky, or P.T. Anderson if he’s to avoid turning it into a routine, cheesy thriller, especially since the central protagonist’s journey involves the learning of valuable life lessons, notably concerning his marriage and his own self-worth. Ultimately “Hodejegerne” is little more than a sophisticated yuppie nightmare movie, but it’s still a gripping tale, deftly told.

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