Roger Brown (Askel Hennie) is about 5’6”. Big deal right? I mean it does put the man a little on the short side, but short people are allowed do all the things that normal people can do nowadays. Just playing with you, you short people out there. Regardless, Roger’s height, or lack thereof, is extremely relevant in director Morten Tyldum’s film ‘Headhunters’ for Roger’s small stature is his driving force behind almost everything he has done in his life, everything he has achieved, his somewhat sour and pompous attitude, and not to mention the bad decisions he’s about to make which is going to put his life in some serious danger for the next hour and a half.
By day Roger is a professional Head Hunter, matching high level executives to large corporations and this looks to provide him with a good life. He has an amazing home, nice cars, and a wife in Diana (Synnove Macody Lund) who is beautiful, talented and very, very tall. An easy six feet that one. The thing is as good as I’m sure Roger’s day job pays, it still doesn’t pay for the lifestyle we see him living, which is why Roger’s night job is that of an art thief. I gotta say though, even though Roger is very good at what he does by his own proclamation, observing how he sets up his marks it doesn’t look to me like it would take a whole lot of police leg work to figure out the common denominator for these thefts. Just saying.
So Roger’s next mark shows up at his wife’s first art show. Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) used to be an exec at one corporation, looks like he’d be a perfect fit at another corporation that Roger is representing, and Roger wants this guy because he needs this commission. But wait, turns out this guy, through some wild set of circumstances, has a very rare Rueben in his attic. This is what Roger really wants. Roger gets what he needs, executes his theft plan, but from the moment Roger stepped in the guy’s loft, his life will be permanently altered. Kind of.
Without getting in to too much detail about the how’s and why’s, but Roger is in trouble. Maybe it’s the dead guy in his Lexus, or the maybe the fact that it looks like his tall and pretty wife is tipping out on him behind his back, or the woman he’s having the
affair with has become obsessed with him. The real problem for Roger is that Clas Greve is trying to kill him. He wants him dead in the worst way. Why? Well at first I was confused about this, then I realized it’s very simple, but the movie throws up so much stuff that it kind of steers us into over thinking it. We’ll talk about it in a minute.
Regardless, Roger is on the run for his life. For real. I mean death is all but assured for Roger because Clas Greve, when he’s not trying to get corporate jobs, is a brutal and masterful dispenser of death. And he doesn’t like Roger even a little bit. He likes his wife though. But then who doesn’t like six foot super model Scandinavian Blondes I guess. I don’t know how Roger is going to get out this situation, but he’s such a little ass I’m not even sure we want him to get out of this situation.
‘Headhunters’, if you are to ask me, is a damned entertaining movie. Now we had heard a lot of stuff about how clever it was and how smart it was and to that end maybe ‘Headhunters’ is a little overrated. Maybe a lotta overrated. But as far as sitting down in front of a screen and watching a movie, ‘Headhunters’ delivered. Askel Hennie’s Roger Brown is a very unlikely hero, unlikely to the point that rooting for him is damn near impossible. He’s rude, pompous, arrogant, a thief, self-serving, insecure and unfaithful. And those are his good points. And while I don’t know if the audience will ever be able to truly root for this guy, he gets himself into so many bad situations that he seems so ill equipped to get himself out of, it’s is immensely entertaining to see how in the world he’s going to get out of them. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau made for a great villain, just like he does on ‘Game of Thrones’, apparently tall pretty boys can’t be trusted any more than short dudes. The movie earned its thriller stripes honestly by being consistently tense, accentuated with a few nice action pieces, and a story which kept you kept you pretty much in a murky haze until the very end.
The longer this story went on it got more ridiculous and unbelievable, true enough, and the ending… in my opinion… was a complete sellout, but we did enjoy ‘Headhunters’ as the thriller it sells itself on being.
Now to the confusion, and this filled with all kinds of SPOILERS. The question is, ‘How did Greve know Roger was an art thief so he could set him up?’ Now this movie is based on a book so the real answers are probably in the novel, but from what I could see, Clas Gerve didn’t know Roger was an art thief. The only thing Greve wanted to do was let Roger know that he existed so he could get an interview with the company he was repping. Greve knew once he got the interview he gets the job. Simple. Then we learn he was sleeping with Roger’s wife, and coupled with the whole cell phone thing in the apartment while he was stealing the painting, it also looked like part of the setup. Ah, but in my opinion, there is no larger conspiracy or setup. Greve was sleeping with Roger’s wife because Roger’s wife was hot and easy. The rest was all coincidence. Thus if Greve didn’t sleep with Roger’s wife, Roger would’ve recommended him for the job, all would’ve been fine, he wouldn’t have to kill Roger since Roger’s only goal after finding out this guy sexed up lady was ruining him. But then we also wouldn’t have a thriller to watch. Sure, it’s a heaping amount of coincidence, I mean this entire movie is built upon a whole shaky house worth of coincidence, but it is what it is. We liked it anyway.