Headhunters (Hodejegerne): a professional headhunter, and art thief, risks everything he has to steal a Peter Paul Rubens painting from an ex-mercenary. The central story is absolutely brilliant, and it feels surprisingly fresh given the setup. It’s plot and character driven in equal measures and it doesn’t stop once it gets rolling. The film’s punctuated with brutal graphic violence, although it’s most often used as comedy (!!) to break the unbearable tension built up in pivotal chase / confrontational scenes; I never thought I’d laugh at a smashed up skull, dog abuse, or poop – but if you didn’t laugh, you’d break down. Askel Hennie (a Christopher Walken lookalike) leads a great bunch of actors, and memorable but believable characters. Other than above, you can’t really mention much more without risking spoilers. The film didn’t need the quirky voiceover setup and wrap up – flat-out drama / thriller would have been sufficient – and some parts start to flirt with surrealism, but those are very minor niggles. Headhunters is well-directed, well acted, well written, funny, serious and dramatic crime caper… you couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s an absolute must see; European cinema at its best, and film of the year so far.
Nice to see that you enjoyed it so much as well. Saw this a couple of months ago as part of a festival and it was such a fun ride.
When you say, if you didn’t laugh you’d break down – that is completely and utterly true! You gotta love the humour in this film. It’s dry and like you said, sometimes surreal, but made me laugh more than some so-called comedies.
I think those in Scandinavia are really showing the rest of the world how to create a great, taute thriller. Where it’s not all about the shaky cams and the foreboding drama but the characters at the core of the film.
Think I enjoyed it just as much as you did.
Loved it. I’ve now watched it twice, and read the book, and I’m still not exactly sure why it all kicked off, but I had a heck of a time with it.
Mine was a slightly less enthusiastic review, but basically I agree – this is a top notch thriller.