The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Headhunters | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Headhunters

Directed by: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Synnove Macody Lund, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Julie Olgaard, Eivind Sander

Tyldum puts Hollywood blockbusters to shame with this blisteringly paced Norwegian Hitchcock homage, Nordic by Northwest if you will.
Over the years we've had plenty of movie villains with a Napoleon complex but this could be the first instance of a hero who suffers from small man's syndrome. Hennie is excellent as a corporate headhunter obsessed by the fear of his amazonian wife leaving him for a taller man. Convinced that she only sticks around for his money he moonlights as an art thief with the help of security technician Sander. When he learns that his latest client ("Game Of Thrones" star Coster-Waldau) has an incredibly rare painting in his apartment he steals it and sets off a crazy chain of events.
Hitchcock has to be the most imitated of directors but it's rare that film-makers really capture the essence of his style. It's largely forgotten how much comedy his movies contained but this film is very much in the spirit of his lighter adventure romps, specifically "To Catch A Thief", "Saboteur" and "North By Northwest". There are several nods to the latter film; the protagonist is named Roger, he lives in a house identical to James Mason's clifftop villa, and there's an echo of the crop-duster scene, this time involving a truck. The three main characters are classic Hitch archetypes, the paranoid man on the run, the ice cool blonde who may or may not be trustworthy, and the suave villain.
The final hour is practically an extended chase sequence, directed with the swagger of a Hollywood veteran. There are laughs, there are shocks, there are moments of absolute depravity, and some of the most comical gore since "Evil Dead 2". Every time you think Tyldum is throwing something at you gratuitously it turns out to be integral to the plot. At one point I groaned when a set of overweight twin cops showed up, being the sort of quirkiness that turns me off the Coen brothers, but in the following scene you realise exactly why Tyldum made them so obese and it's a brilliant moment of twisted comedy.
It staggers me to think a movie this broad in scope came out of a country of just five million people. I live in Ireland which has a similar population and there is no way we could ever produce something this accomplished.
It's rumoured Tyldum is to direct an American remake of this, a shame really as I'm curious to see what else he has up his sleeve.
Headhunters (2011) on IMDb 7.5/10