The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

My snow angel for Headhunters

with 16 comments

It  barely ever happens that I write about a movie without having any idea at all about what other people have thought about it. There are always footprints all over the place, people have stomped around in the film nerd forum where I hang out, on the blogs that I follow and in the podcasts I listen to.

Some film bloggers and podcasters claim they manage to shut their ears and stay away from all reviews until they’ve watched the movie and made their own opinion about it. I have no idea of how they manage to do that. They must have some kind of delay mechanism attached to all their media consumption, keeping them from taking part of anything newer than six months old.

I want to listen to the latest shows and read the newest blog posts. And because of this I rarely get to see the movie completely fresh, as fresh as a field of snow early in the morning after a blizzard, before anyone has put their feet to the ground.

I usually don’t get to see movies before everyone else since I don’t get invitations for press screenings (apart from a PR company that for some reason has started to spam me about a one-man show in New York. Unfortunately they didn’t think of offering me an airplane ticket at the same time.)

But since I go to the movies as much as I do, I’ve got the highest level in the loyal customer program at my theatre. And because of this I sometimes get to go to pre-screenings for free.

This happened to me the other week as I watched the Norwegian thriller, Headhunters, which won’t come up in the theatres until later this week.

I know nothing about this movie; I have no idea about what any of my favorite film critics will think about it. I’m diving into the snow on my own this time, making an angel before the footprints have taken over. And gosh, it feels great

Good craftsmanship
So what shall I say? Well first of all: standard thriller isn’t my number one among film genres. I’m usually more into drama, science fiction and occasionally comedies. I probably wouldn’t have watched this one in a theatre if I hadn’t gotten the tickets for free. And this is a shame, because it was surprisingly good.

Basically it’s a story about Roger, who works as a headhunter at day, but does some shady business at night to support his extravagant lifestyle. One day he thinks he’s going to make a Really Big Crime, making him financially independent once for all. But all of a sudden something goes wrong and he finds himself running for his life from the guy he tried to trick.

It doesn’t sound too involving, doesn’t it? Especially not since Roger from the beginning is pictured as a quite unsympathetic man who is cheating on his wife and generally doesn’t think about anyone but himself. Why would I care about him?

However – there is something that the film maker must be doing right – I can’t pinpoint it, but I suppose it’s what they call good craftsmanship. All I know is that within five minutes I found myself absolutely absorbed into the plot. It held my attention in a tight grip all way through, and little by little the main character even managed to win me over.

This is a bit surprising since it’s quite a violent movie, with a great deal of blood and splatter and gore and well… go figure. This normally doesn’t work well with me, but it did, perhaps thanks to the dark humor it was sprinkled with. I can’t go into details about it without giving away spoilers, but there are some scenes including a fight with a dog and an unusual place to hide on which I won’t forget anytime soon.

This said – I suppose this film is kind of forgettable, the way that action thrillers usually are. It’s meant to entertain as long as the screening lasts. Which actually isn’t a bad thing.

Oh, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Headhunters will pop up as a makeover on the other side of the Atlantic in a near future. Considering how successful The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was I bet they might like this one too.

And now my snow angel is finished. It’s not particularly pretty –  but at least it’s mine. 🙂

Headhunters (Hodejegerne, Morten Tyldum, NO, 2011) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

November 2, 2011 at 1:00 am

Posted in Headhunters

16 Responses

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  1. I am one of those people that knows almost nothing about a movie before watching it. I do it basically by skipping news stories on them, not watching trailers and skipping the reviews in podcasts. The only thing I might do is look at a score and not read the review itself to get at least a feeling. Somehow it’s not that difficult to shut yourself off from new movie news.


    November 2, 2011 at 8:56 am

    • Kudos to you for manageing to do that. i’m far too curious to resist taking a peek!


      November 2, 2011 at 9:08 am

      • You should try it, at least just once 🙂 Just pick any movie and try to know as little as you can about it. Just like you did with this movie.


        November 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

  2. Headhunters was shown at LFF and it was one that I really wanted to see. I will have to look out for a release on Blu Ray eventually now. Looks like it is right up my street!!

    Scott Lawlor

    November 2, 2011 at 11:07 am

    • What a bummer you missed it! But I think it will make an excellent film for DVD/Blue Ray. It’s not the kind of movie you “have to” see in a theatre. Besides you’ve got some good equipment at home as far as i understand it.


      November 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

  3. […] Headhunters – a well crafted thriller from Norway […]

  4. Great review for a great film Jessica. I enjoy a good thriller but find them hard to come across these days. This really hit the spot for me though. I didn’t manage to completely avoid the word of mouth or reviews for it beforehand but that still didn’t hinder my experience.

    Mark Walker

    June 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    • Thanks Mark! I haven’t seen a flood of reviews about it, but it seems to get a bit of appreciation here and there and it warms my heart every time I see it. Proud over our neighbors in the west!


      June 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      • Lol. As you mentioned a few days ago, your neighbours in the west are doing well. This is a good example of such. if truth be told though, I think I only read two critics reviews but I was sold straight away. I’m always interested in discovering new material that Hollywood hasn’t been involved in. I find world cinema far more refreshing but haven’t written enough reviews on what I’ve seen. Ive got quite a few in my index but for what I’ve seen I should have more. I aim to change that.

        Mark Walker

        June 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm

        • I hope you’re following Bonjour Tristesse. That’s the best place to go for world cinema. He reviews all sorts of foreign movies as soon as they come out. A great source of inspiration.


          June 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm

  5. I have not been following him/her. I’ll do that though. Cheers Jessica.

    Mark Walker

    June 10, 2012 at 11:22 pm

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