I have 498 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to watch one thing for every five that I add, but now my library is close to being full and I have to make room. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking of you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but no longer have the time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know what has been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for you and the next for me and so on. Let’s get to it.
What’s the movie? Headhunters (2011)
What’s it rated? Rated R for a man with a very special set of skills, the ickiest outhouse scene since Sleepaway Camp 2 and a doggy that has a run in with a tractor.
Did people make it? Written by Lars Gutmestad and Ulf Ryberg. Directed by Morten Tyldum. Acted by Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Synnøve Macody Lund, Julie Ølgaard and Eivind Sander.
What’s it like in one sentence? A cat and mouse thriller with a slight twist on the formula.
Why did you watch it? Louis Pantelakos Jr (with an assist from RelaxingDragon) recommended this week’s, last week’s and next week’s. So far, they’re on a roll.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Roger Brown (Hennie) is a massively successful corporate headhunter in Norway. He has a stunning wife, Diana (Lund), and a beautiful home, but he also has a mountain of debt he offsets by being a brilliantly sneaky art thief. When Diana introduces him to Clas Greve (Coster-Waldau), an ex-CEO of Roger’s corporate competition, he not only finds the perfect man to bring into his business dealings, but the perfect mark for a high stakes robbery. The only problem is that Clas Greve isn’t just a businessman, he’s also ex-Danish Army warrior who specialized in tracking down the wily beast known as man. Hi-jinks ensue. Hi-jinks is not the appropriate word here, but you get the idea.
Play or remove from my queue? I would play the hell out of this one. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel when it comes to action thrillers, but it’s damned fun, pretty unpredictable and a lot better than most thrillers that come out nowadays (I’m looking at you, Seeking Justice). As things escalate for poor Roger Brown, I really started leaning farther forward in my seat, unable to comprehend how the hell he was going to get out of the dire situation he put himself in. The fact that I even cared is the strongest aspect of the entire film, because Roger Brown is not the most likable guy.
Headhunters is great not just because of the slickly shot action or well executed twists, but because Roger Brown as a character is a pretty giant prick. Aksel Hennie is in every frame of the film and carries it effortlessly, but when we first meet his character, he is a supremely smug thief who gets off on extravagant displays of his power. He’s also cheating on his gorgeous wife, treating his co-workers like shit and is generally acting like someone you want to punch every time he opens his mouth. But as he gets in deeper with Clas Greve, he realizes, right as the audience does, that he is in way over his head. Greve is a highly intelligent and deadly warrior and has Roger’s number from the moment they meet. Without dropping any spoilers, by the final act of the film you are fully in Roger’s corner and rooting for him every step of the way. The amount of shit (ahem) he goes through in this film is staggering and there’s just no way you can’t be amazed by Roger’s plucky, can-do spirit and how the little guy just never gives up. Greve is not the only person underestimated upon first glance.
I haven’t seen a movie do such a good job of turning me around fully on a character in as long as I can remember, but that’s also not the only reason to catch the movie, either. The acting is spot on, with Aksel Hennie throwing out a ton of nuance and color in this and, since I haven’t seen him in anything before, I’ll check out Max Manus and A Somewhat Gentle Man just based on the strength of his work here. Coster-Waldau does a pretty familiar variation on his Jamie Lannister, but it fits the character well enough to not be a distraction. Synnøve Macody Lund and Julie Ølgaard are also excellent as Roger’s wife and mistress, respectively, with Ølgaard having some especially interesting moments to play.
Headhunters is worth your time, for sure. It has some pacing issues in the first act and some pretty wild coincidences in the third, but none of it detracts from the film overall. It made me happy on a day where I needed some happy and that’s what film is all about sometimes.
Do you have a favorite line? There’s a moment where Roger asks his wife if she loves him that almost brought me to tears. But I also cry at some silly shit lately.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? Summit Entertainment bought the rights to to a remake before Headhunters even entered theaters. I would love to see this film done with Tom Hardy in the Coster-Waldau role and Paul Giamatti playing Roger Brown.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? The Yellow Sea (It’s Korean so I’m in), Margin Call (looking forward to this), Life Without Principle (Johnnie To flick I’ve never seen!) La Liste (looks promising) and Rapt (French crime thrillers are my joint).
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? Nothing’s really jumping out at me except After Hours and that’s probably not accurate.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.9
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 3.8
Can you link to the movie? That seems fair.
Any last thoughts? Don’t steal from people that were in the special forces. Even if it’s Danish special forces.
Did you watch anything else this week? Nope, but I’m headed to see Skyfall as we speak.
Any spoilerish thoughts about last week’s film, Keyhole? It’s already leaving my thoughts like a fleeting dream, although I am embarrassed I spelled Jason Patric’s name wrong last week.
Next Week? Klown!