Review by Nathan Samdahl (A-)
Headhunters is a pulse-pounding nonstop action thrill ride with plenty of intrigue thrown in. The middle 45 minutes of this film is by far the most fun I've had at the movies all year.
Norwegian director Morten Tyldum delivers a film that is nuanced and complex, much like one of my personal favorites, The Game. Yet while that film utilizes a slow build, Headhunters has a fairly brief lead-in followed by an insane cat-and-mouse chase sequence that is sure to make you smile. Look for Tyldum to make a big splash on the American film scene in the years to come. His sleek stylish aesthetic seems perfectly built for some of the more elevated studio fare.
The film's two leads Aksel Hennie (Roger Brown) and Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Clas Greve), both huge stars in their native countries (Norway and Denmark respectively), are superb here. Clas is charming in a Bond kind of way, or perhaps more appropriately, a Patrick Bateman kind of way - a master manipulator whose good looks are only equaled by his complete absence of emotion.
Aksel plays his counterpart perfectly - a smart, weasel of a man, who is shocked to meet a man more impressive than himself. But while Clas's faux emotions are all surface, Roger's we discover are quite genuine, but just hidden a little deeper.
Headhunters features a slew of incredibly entertaining moments, most notably the outhouse scene. Thankfully, Tyldum doesn't overlook the quiet moments that make films like this great.
The film's only lesser element is the strength of the final act when the tides turn between the two men. While satisfying in many ways, it does feel a tad too convenient and the intensity from the middle section of the film dissipates slightly.
But really, who cares. This is one of the few must-see films of the year so far. And of course you won't have long to wait until the American remake; Summit is already working on it. And with Summit in the mix, we can only cross our fingers for another Lautner/Pattinson showdown - please say it isn't so!
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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