Two things recently have me amazed in a way that isn’t necessarily good. The first is that I find my 43 years of unblemished heterosexuality tested every time I have to see Hillary Clinton on tv, screaming like some witch at a haunted carnival and her thundergunt trying to burst out of her bland, matronly pantsuit like a demon fetus. First female president? You sure about that, buddy? Compared to Mrs. Clinton, the average dockworker with excess belly fat and ear hair is just as attractive to me. I mean after seven Tullamore Dews, WHAT DIFFFERENCE—AT THIS POINT—DOES IT MAKE??? Imagine she runs against that fiery FUPA from the Garden State, Chris Christie? You know, the obnoxious loudmouth who likes to scream at reporters he doesn’t agree with and falls asleep at Bruce Springsteen concerts like my fat Uncle Mike after he downed 12 Miller Hi Lifes and jerked off to the sight of Farrah Fawcett strutting her shit on Charlie’s Angels. Those two nincompoops go head to head at a couple of debates—the white hot lights emulating the fury of the American people’s hatred for Washington– and there is going to be a lot of sweaty, loose flesh and chafing in the nether regions.
No wonder those two are always agitated. Wake me up in 2017 when the sideshow has left town.
The second amazing thing is the insecurity of successful people. I get that self-doubt may fuel the fire that forges their success. However, through the media and firsthand in my career, I have witnessed such childish behavior born from the fear of failure that it makes my head spin like I took a right cross from 1986 Mike Tyson. If you got the money, the huge house, stunning spouse and high powered job as an executive headhunter, shouldn’t you think you are doing pretty well for yourself? So what if you are only five and a half feet tall and you kind of look like Klaus Kinski’s soft little sister? Your wife is a six foot stunner who reminds us of Heidi Klum at her hottest. Still not feeling the love? Go see a $500 an hour shrink and don’t act out like a dripping cunt. Toughen up and throw the tampon in the disposal. You’re supposed to be a man!! Act like one, dude. Granted, the definition for being a man has changed over the years. Society has the two genders coming together in the middle to form some super sensitive being that I suspect will look like a child’s crayon rendition of a person, sexless and unoffensive. It won’t be long until there is no chromosome difference in us. Insecurity can lead to stupid behavior which can lead to some big mistakes. Big mistakes can cloud up and rain all over your whiny ass until you are dragging your broken body out of twisted wreckage on the side of the road, someone else’s guts getting in your eyes, stinging them like soapy water.
Morten Tyldum’s Headhunters tells the story of Roger Brown(Aksel Hennie), a successful corporate headhunter seemingly living the good life in a very upscale looking Oslo. In an opening that may remind some of the opening credits sequence of Dexter, we are introduced to Brown’s statuesque beauty of a wife, Diana, played by Synnoeve Macody Lund. Just as most of our wives are, she is opening an art gallery. We see Roger at work, interviewing and instructing high powered clients on how to land that job as a platinum suit with the corner office, secretary that looks like a super model and bonus that equals the payroll of a small market baseball team. Brown is a quick thinker, intelligent, and knows how to play the game. He is confident in the boardroom and maneuvers the halls of his modern looking office with the same stern-faced cockiness as Tony Manero walking like a man with a purpose on a Brooklyn sidewalk. We also learn that Roger Brown is in debt and close to bankruptcy, mostly for lavishly spending on his wife. Being an industrious go getter, Brown supplements his income by being an art thief.
It is ingenious the way Tyldum shows us how Brown uses his profession as a headhunter to help with his second career. Headhunters, a Norwegian film, really plays like the best thrillers Hollywood has to offer. This possibly means that, besides the fact that they don’t speak English and aren’t in America, it doesn’t seem to have a foreign film feel. Many foreign films I have seen tend to be much darker. This has the lighter, witty tone of a well produced American production. The way the hints are placed for the audience to ingest and the entertaining and suspenseful near misses for the protagonist we might be reminded of Andrew Davis’ excellent action thriller The Fugitive. Make no mistake, there are some scenes of bloodletting that you usually only get in a horror movie on American shores. One scene in particular had me wincing as if I was preparing to get stung by a wasp. The overall tone, however, doesn’t have the bleakness of someone sitting in the waiting room to see the doctor who will be giving them a grave diagnosis. The liver is shot, sir. I have seen ones that came out of nuclear disasters in better shape than yours. I don’t have the 30 grand for the transplant. I have the fifteen dollars for the Georgi Vodka. It will kill me quick. Thanks doc. I have seen some Scandinavian flicks like that, I think. Not sure. I drink most weekends. Headhunters also gives us quite the Hollywood ending which might be a little odd for a film produced in a country thousands of miles from the United States.
Don’t let that deter you from seeing this.
At her opening for the art gallery, Diana introduces Roger to handsome executive Clas Greve, played by Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Clas looks great in his expensive suit. The dude is a living commercial for the perfect modern man and every accessory that he needs to maintain his position at the top of society’s food chain. He is tall and handsome and seems to have been carved out of Valhalla’s most expensive granite by a Norse god. Roger is sure of himself when he sets up a meeting with Clas to possibly find him a job with a company that manufactures high-tech GPS systems. However, Aksel Hennie is excellent at showing us the nervous jealousy wash over Roger’s face as he watches Clas and Diana share a laugh at the cocktail party. All that success goes out the window when the trophy wife is talking to someone that has probably never even lost a game of checkers.
“It just so happens” is a phrase that seems to be used by street corner con men selling fake Rolex watches, as well as storytellers from all over the globe that need to bring people into the story. Diana mentions to Roger that Clas has inherited a priceless painting from his deceased grandmother that had been stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Roger sets the wheels in motion to steal the painting while Clas is away fetching his prized dog from quarantine. Roger is going to learn two things. One is never steal a painting from Clas, a deadly, ex military man who specialized in tracking and assassinations. Second, never call your wife’s cell phone when you are in the house of the aforementioned man that you have just robbed.
You might not like where it rings on the other end.
Much of the last half of Headhunters is Roger trying to elude the deadly and determined Clas. They are both smart men who have very different skill sets. We root for Roger, even though he is an art thief and seems to be kind of a prick. However, that doesn’t make him deserving of being killed by Clas, a viper with a million dollar smile. Coster-Waldau has the innate ability to be likable even if he is the villain. We are interested in him, even if we know we should keep our distance, lest we get poisoned or have a vicious dog unleashed upon us.
If you are American and unsure if foreign flicks are your cup of tea, Headhunters is a great place to start. With its brisk pacing and well choreographed set pieces, it may remind you of that thriller that comes out of nowhere that everyone talks about at the water cooler. This is a film that seems destined for an American remake or reboot in the near future. All the pieces are in place. I highly recommend seeking out this version, however.