Film & TV

Ironic-Violent Farce "Headhunters" Focuses on the Spirit of the Coen Brothers' Catalog

Arguably the strangest of the many recent Scandinavian movies to rifle through modern American-indie tropes and then cash in by getting bought up for an American remake (see: Let the Right One In), Morten Tyldum's ironic-violent farce focuses on the spirit of the Coen brothers' catalog, from Blood Simple to Burn After Reading. Our escort through the glossy mayhem is a diminutive executive recruiter (toadish Aksel Hennie), who keeps his Norse goddess wife in luxuries by stealing art on the side and eventually goes after the wrong Rubens, thus crossing the path of the wrong corporate cannibal (the preposterously handsome Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). This leads to our headhunter's becoming the hunted, with bad guys chasing him across a good part of Norway's picturesque fjords, highways, and forests. Which is the strange part — presumably the Hollywood reboot will establish a logical reason for the psychotic chase and blood spree, because Tyldum doesn't quite, focusing instead on absurd set pieces and bottoming out, so to speak, deep in an outhouse shit pit. Plenty of twisty scripting makes the queasy damage seem conceptually neat and tidy, as if that's a good idea, but what we need here is a little more meat.

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Michael Atkinson is a regular film contributor at the Village Voice. His work also appears in the publications of the Voice’s film partner, Voice Media Group: LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.