Sunday, May 13, 2012

Movies: Headhunters

Hollywood is the perfect student. Since its beginning the dream factory has been learning a lot from foreign cinemas. In the 20s of the last century American cinema was influenced by German movies (Metropolis, Nosferatu), in the 50s by Italian & French films, in the 70s by German cinema again and lately by flicks from Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Now it looks like it is turn to Scandinavian cinema to influence Hollywood. Not long ago Hollywood delivered an interesting remake of the Swedish film "The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo", based on the novels of Stieg Larsson, an extremely successful Swedish writer. Now the American movie theaters are showing another Scandinavian product: "The Headhunter" (imdb), based on a book from Jo Nesbo, who seems to be the Norwegian "Larsson".  Wikipedia reports that Hollywood already bought the rights for a U.S. remake of the Norwegian production, which is being shown in America in Norwegian & Danish with English subtitles (wikipedia).

The film tells the story of a man who is the most successful headhunter in Norway but is fighting with his inferiority complex, partly because he is just 5' 8" (172 cm) short. For compensation he leads an expensive lifestyle with a gorgeous trophy woman. To finance this he moonlights as an art thieve.  But as he tries his biggest hit ever he acquires a ruthless enemy and starts a violent and very bloody chain reaction filled with a lot of surprises and twists - a kind of Nordic dynamite.

Aksel Hennie, who reminds me a bit of the young Christopher Walken, is perfectly cast as this headhunter. The popular Norwegian actor performs like an innocent child lost in a perilous fairy forest and responds with a lot of smartness, stoicism and readiness to assimilate. The rest of the cast also is convincing and sometimes surprisingly funny.

It is a lot of fun watching this explosive and violent roller coaster created by director Morten Tyldum and his cinematographer John Andreas Andersen.  I reckon that both are at the brink of an international career and that Hollywood`s Tarantinos & Coen Brothers have now a lot of homework to do. I`m looking forward to seeing more examples of this Nordic dynamite in the cinemas.  

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