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Film / Headhunters

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Headhunters (Hodejegerne) is a Norwegian film made in 2011 starring Aksel Hennie as "Roger Brown," a diminutive talent-seeker who covers his extravagant spending by stealing precious works of art. One day, he stumbles upon a 100 million dollar artwork owned by the handsome, mysterious, and taller Clas Greve, a former CEO of a GPS company seeking to lead Vanguard, Brown's company. What begins as a heist movie soon becomes a game of life and death, with a sense of twisted humor.

Summit Entertainment has bought the rights of this film before its release: a US adaptation, directed by Sacha Gervasi, is in the works. Based upon Jo Nesbø's novel of the same name.

The film provides examples of:

  • Angry Guard Dog: Clas brings a vicious dog with him (a Dogo Argentino. This breed is considered dangerous and banned in Norway) when he goes hunting Roger at the cabin. Roger ends up getting in a fight with a dog in the barn.
  • Babies Ever After: The closing scene highlights Diana's pregnancy.
  • Caper Rationalization: Roger has a profitable career as an art burglar specifically to shower his wife with luxuries.
  • Car Fu: A semi truck collides with a police sedan, throwing the latter off a cliff.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The videocameras Ove placed facing the chair, but not his bed, that could be discretely activated. The blanks used by Ove and Natasha. Clas's gel with thousands of transmitters.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lander, who is interviewed for a job early on and specifically coached not to accept it. With Greve out of the running, he lands the Pathfinder position at the end.
  • Chessmaster: Both Roger Brown and Clas Greve are great at this.
  • Determinator: Roger Brown in pursuing his wife's affection. Clas Greve in pursuing the job.
  • Faking the Dead: Roger after the car accident.
  • From Bad to Worse: Roger Brown through most of the film.
  • Gentleman Thief: Roger is an art burglar who refuses to invade occupied homes, moves quickly, and leaves a replica for the owner.
  • Gorn: It's very graphic, especially the policemen's face after getting hit by a semi truck and falling off a cliff.
  • Gratuitous English: Vanguard. Ove also speaks to Natasha in English.
  • Gun Nut: Ove claims to have a gun within reach in every room of his house, but we only see the automatic weapon at his bedside and the handgun in his fridge. He and Natasja apparently load them with blanks and run around the house shooting at each other.
  • Important Haircut: To fake Roger Brown's death and get rid of the gel that had transmitters.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: During the final showdown, Clas discovers that Diana has switched the cartridges in gun with blanks.
  • Kevlard: Roger survives a car accident because the obese passengers on either side acted as human airbags.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Ove and Natasja, a Russian prostitute who is only in town every six months.
  • Low-Speed Chase: Roger escapes from the cabin by stealing a farmer's old tractor. He thinks he is being chased by Clas in an SUV and starts swerving across the road to stop the SUV from passing him and winds up crashing. Then it turns out it wasn't Clas at all, but just a neighbour driving a similar vehicle.
  • The Mole: Ove, employed at a security company but who regularly deactivates alarms for Roger.
  • Mole in Charge: Clas's objective. His company needs access to Pathfinder's technology to ensure its sale to an American company.
  • Mood Whiplash: Brutal violence, extreme tension, harrowing situations, but in the end it focuses suddenly on themes of love and empathy, and everything wraps up as neatly and tidily as any film in recent memory, complete with confident voiceover, a snappy callback closing one-liner, and a pop rock song over the closing credits. Kill List this ain't.
  • MacGuffin: The painting. Subverted: it was a replica to begin with. The story was made up to find a way into Roger's personal life.
  • The Napoleon: Roger admits in the opening narration that he spends his life overcompensating for his 5'6 height
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Necessary because of the tractor scene.
  • Oh, Crap!: a literal example in the outhouse. Qualifies as Squick.
  • One-Word Title
  • Red Herring: Bred Sperre is introduced as a famous detective recently switched from murder cases to art burglary. It appears he's going to target Roger's art theft with all the fervency of a murder investigation. Turns out he's back to investigating murders later and is quite happy to pick up Roger's planted evidence to solve the case neatly and quickly, upholding his own public reputation.
  • Shout-Out: to the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Some shots from the Swedish film were incorporated.
  • Shower Scene: Diana's first appearance in the film is her taking a shower, complete with Toplessness from the Back (only it is Full Length Nudity from the Back).
  • Wall Bang Her: Roger is banging his mistress Lotte up against the wall of her apartment just before he dumps her.