I saw Jo Nesbo Headhunters last night.
The anti-hero, Roger Brown, is a Norwegian corporate headhunter who moonlights as an art thief to support his high-maintenance trophy wife. Roger is not a nice man – he is arrogant, greedy and amoral but also insecure. The first part of the film is a primer on how to carry out an art heist. Roger headhunts a Dane, Clas Greve. While Roger plans the theft of Clas’s Rubens painting, Clas is sleeping with Roger’s wife. There is a sort of comedy of corporate manners between Roger and Clas as they size each other up. I liked this part of the movie, the tension all the while steadily building up.
Roger’s heist goes badly wrong and he ends up being hunted – literally. We now get a gory chase movie. Roger manages to survive one bloody attempt on his life only to survive even more gory and implausible actions. However he survives at the price of extreme humiliation. The direction here is rather heavy handed, lacking any subtlety, and is more a dark comedy than a thriller. Although this didn’t work for me as a thriller, I did find it entertaining. You come to admire Roger’s rat-like cunning as humiliation upon humiliation is heaped on him.
In the end Roger survives by stealing a dead man’s identity. For this to work Roger has to cover up a lot of evidence. However there are so many strands of evidence that need to be undone that this part of the movie is too fast to have any sort of tension.
So although I found the movie quiet entertaining I didn’t think it was a very good thriller. I haven’t read the book; maybe it’s more of a thriller rather than the dark comedy that the movie is.