"“Despite being cool and classy throughout, the film is still equipped with a certain degree of quirkiness…”"

Based on Norwegian thriller writer Jo Nesbo’s bestseller, Headhunters is a sharp, elegant and often eccentric crime story, which head a strong list of Scandinavian films to feature at last Autumn's London Film Festival.

As the first of Nesbo’s novels to be adapted onto the big screen, Headhunters follows the story of Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie), a man who has it all – but remains to feel fulfilled in life. Despite being a well-respected and successful headhunter, married to his beautiful wife Diana (Synnove Macody Lund), living in a stunningly modish house, he is always chasing additional riches, yet his means of doing so isn’t that of a legal one.

In short, Roger steals paintings. Alongside his partner-in-crime Ove (Eivind Sander), he breaks into the homes of those he believes possess valuable pieces of art, selling them on for profitable fees. And when his wife introduces him to ex-mercenary Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who confesses to owning a painting potentially worth hundreds of millions, Roger lines up his latest victim. Although what he doesn’t comprehend, is that Clas specialises in the art of tracking people down.

Full of suspense and trepidation, Headhunters turns from being slick and sophisticated into a full on chase, as Clas desperately attempts to track down Roger, who seems to have finally hit a glitch in what has otherwise been a worthwhile criminal vocation.

Despite being cool and classy throughout, the film is still equipped with a certain degree of quirkiness, often found in Scandinavian productions, reminiscent of Danish cinematic movement Dogme 95. Headhunters manages to combine the two elements well, as it would throw in peculiar, quite humorous situations amidst the anxiety and suspense, epitomised in the two severely overweight twin brothers, acting as policemen working on the case.

However, the film does become quite inane during the climatic chase scenes, with an abundance of quite sensational occurrences, such as when Roger decides to hide in the quite nauseating pit of an outside toilet. In that respect the film loses some of its integrity, although further enhanced the idiosyncrasy that it also portrays.

What certainly helps the feature along is the willingness for Roger to come out on top. Despite breaking the law, you couldn’t help but be fond of Roger and due to his common, everyday-man persona, makes him very easy to relate to, and thanks to the smarmy and therefore grating confidence of Clas, there is only ever going to be one side to take.

I think that Roger’s likeability is not just down to the wonderful performance by Hennie, but due to the sincerity and diffidence of the character. Also helped by his physical appearance, as, at just 5’8” in height, and of a somewhat petite build, he doesn't seem overly valiant or sturdy, as you therefore feel that what Roger is capable of, anyone is.

It’s not just Hennie who acts well, as the performances across the feature are strong, and combined with the gripping, enthralling filmmaking by director Morten Tyldum, if Nesbo did have any hesitations beforehand to his work being taken to the big-screen, I’m sure that such apprehensions have been eased somewhat, as this slick yet surreal feature, telling a riveting tale, is certainly one that could become a hit worldwide.

However, let’s just hope that it’s not in the form of a Hollywood remake, as if faith can be put into this innovative production; it can go a long way. And I can safely say that I’ll be adding the original novel to my Christmas list (thinking ahead), and I’m sure Nesbo wouldn’t mind that.