Monday, 21 July 2014

Headhunters - film review

Headhunters is a 2011 film based on a novel written three years earlier by the prolific and much acclaimed Jo Nesbo. I've read two or three of Nesbo's books about Harry Hole, but this novel is a stand-alone, and makes a very interesting movie. At first, I thought the tone was uneven and unsatisfactory, but before long I warmed to the story, which proved to be much twistier than first appeared likely. The way that expectations are set up, only to be confounded, is one of the film's real strengths.

The protagonist (I can't bring myself to call him a hero) is Roger Brown, an ace recruitment consultant, or headhunter.He is married to a very attractive, if high-maintenance, woman, and lives far beyond his means. His wife wants to have a child, but he doesn't. He's too busy resorting to art theft as a means of supplementing his sizeable, yet still inadequate, income.

When I thought the film might be a comedy thriller about bungled art thefts, I wasn't too excited, but the action soon warms up, when Roger discovers that his wife is having an affair with a rather mysterious chap who hopes that Roger will find him a plum job. Before long, things turn very nasty indeed, and the fast-paced story wanders all over the place as, reluctantly, the audience starts to root for Roger to get out of the very deep hole he has dug himself into.

I've known, quite a number of headhunters in my working life, and members of that profession featured in my novel Take My Breath Away.In real life, I've found headhunters very good company - the nature of the job tends to make them very convivial. And suffice to say that, although recruitment consultants as a breed can definitely show plenty of imagination, and not always in a good way (charming though they invariably are), I've never met anyone in the least like Roger Brown. Just as well, really....

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