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Headhunters (Blu-ray Review)

2 Sep, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Box Office $1.2 million
$26.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence including some grisly images, strong sexual content and nudity.
In Norwegian with English subtitles.
Stars Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

To the male psyche, a 5-foot-6 stature can lead to a lot of insecurity and overcompensation — sometimes with unintended consequences.

Diminutive headhunter Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is way over his head in debt and false pretenses trying to impress and retain his statuesque blond beauty of a wife and art aficionado (Synnøve Macody Lund) — so much so that he moonlights as an art thief to make ends meet.

The basic rules of stealing paintings are explained in the opening credits in this exceptional Norwegian black comedy from the producers of Sweden’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy. Brown cleverly obtains background information (pets in the home, alarm system, stay-at-home wife, etc.) on potential theft targets through interviews conducted at his executive placement firm.

Working with an inside contact (Eivind Sander) who can disable home security systems, Brown remains one step ahead of the law — a streak that is put to the test when introduced by his wife to handsome Dutch businessman Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). She tells Brown that Greve’s grandmother has a rare painting worth millions sitting in her apartment.

Of course, it’s a ruse that Brown falls for as Greve is actually a former special forces military badass now working for a competing firm looking to take over the company; the irony being that Greve has no idea Brown is an art thief.

Both parties then engage in a cat-and-mouse game of deceit — fueled largely by ulterior motives — with innocent and not-so-innocent bystanders and associates caught in the crossfire.

Headhunters is a taut thrill ride only slightly compromised by the often rapid-fire subtitles than can leave the viewer trying to look at two places at once on the TV.

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