Fantastic Fest 2011 Review: Headhunters
This Norwegian release by director Morten Tyldem (based on Jo Nesbo’s book of the same name) is a tightly wound thriller about a successful headhunter and art thief who suffers from a serious Napoleon complex. Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) compensates for his lack of stature in the ways one generally expects – owning a large, expensive home; marrying a tall, beautiful woman whom he lavishes with gifts; cheating on said gorgeous wife; and wielding his position of power over others. The means by which he acquires his wealth is somewhat unconventional, being that he recruits wealthy, prospective employee and uses the interviewing process to case their homes in order to steal from them.
Roger is financially in the red due to his excessive spending habits and his life becomes unhinged when he double-crosses the wrong man – an ex-special forces tracking expert (who happens to be sleeping with Roger’s lovely wife) who seeks a CEO position with one of Roger’s clients. Through a series of twists and turns (and more twists! and more turns!), Roger becomes an anti-hero that you root for – revealing that the motivation for his actions is one of the most common and relate-able of the human condition: to love and to be loved in return.
I really enjoyed this story about a selfish, insecure and resourceful con-artist. Headhunters made me laugh, caused me to experience intense anxiety and even turned my stomach a time or two – definitely one to watch out for!