The world of recruitment consultancy seems an unlikely one to set a fast-paced action-thriller in. I can’t imagine David Fincher getting all that excited about a film where a man spends his days trawling for CVs on monster.co.uk. That, however, is exactly what Norwegian director Morten Tyldum has done with his new film Headhunters – an adaptation of the best-selling book by Jo Nesbro – and it’s fucking brilliant.
Admittedly, his main character Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is involved in the more glamorous, high-end headhunting of top corporate CEOs and company directors (although let’s face it, it still essentially boils down to chatting shit and forwarding emails doesn’t it?) Roger has created the perfect life for himself; he’s at the top of his profession, lives in a stunning house with a superhot wife, and has an extraordinary head of flowing blonde hair that makes him look like a young Christopher Walken who’s stolen Donald Trump’s wig.
He is, however, massively overleveraged and can’t actually afford to pay for any of it. So, to make ends meet, he moonlights as an art thief targeting the very clients he’s supposed to be headhunting. It all works very nicely; while making polite chitchat with a prospective candidate, he can subtly enquire about their home security arrangements, whether they have a dog and – oh – do they happen to own any priceless items of fine art?
His latest score involves a long-lost Rubens’ worth upwards of $100m. It’s owned by Clas Greve (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who he’s putting forward to be the new CEO of a top tech firm that specializes in GPS tracking. The heist doesn’t quite go to plan however as it turns out that, as well as being an expert in GPS, Clas is also a former Special Forces Supersoldier responsible for all manner of deadly Black Ops around the world. He’s basically Jason Bourne on Foursquare – not exactly the ideal person to steal from. There follows a terrifying game of cat-and-mouse where poor old Roger gets shot at, stabbed, beaten up, savaged by a pit-bull, driven off a cliff and forced to hide in six feet of human shit. And he has to shave off his beautiful Donald Trump hair.
I absolutely loved this film. If I had to boil down the type of movie I like into a single word, that word would simply be ‘Mental’. I’m talking about the kind of films made by people like Lars Von Trier, Werner Herzog and Harmony Korine - where you get the distinct impression the director was using a lot of cocaine and swearwords as he was shooting it. Headhunters is very much in that tradition – filled with lots of bizarre little eccentricities and bonkers big set pieces. I especially liked the bit where Roger’s mustachioed accomplice and a Russian prostitute get fully naked and scamper about the house shooting at each other with toy guns (Note: if my theoretical future Best Man is reading this, I definitely want to do that on my theoretical future stag night). Or the bit where Roger finds himself in the back seat of a cop car, sandwiched between two obese identical twin brother policemen. Or the bit where he attacks a guard dog with a tractor.
Every single moment of this film is absolutely delightful – I literally cannot recommend it enough.