Headhunters (film)

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German title Headhunters
Original title Hodejegerne
Country of production Norway , Denmark , Germany
original language Norwegian
Publishing year 2011
length 100 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Morten Tyldum
script Ulf Ryberg
Lars Gudmestad
production Anni Faurbye Fernandez
Asle Vatn
Christian Fredrik Martin
Lone Korslund
music Trond Bjerknæs
Jeppe Kaas
camera John Andreas Andersen
cut Vidar Flataukan

Headhunters (original title: Hodejegerne , reference title: Jo Nesbø's Headhunters ) is a 2011 thriller by the Norwegian director Morten Tyldum , based on the novel Hodejegerne by Jo Nesbø . The film had its German premiere on March 15, 2012. It is the most commercially successful film in the history of Norwegian film.


Roger Brown is a successful headhunter . He owns a large villa and is married to the gallery owner Diana. Since his luxurious lifestyle cannot be financed by his job alone and he runs into debt, Roger also leads a double life as an art thief and, together with his friend Ove Kjikerud, steals from his customers. The man, who is only moderately attractive compared to his wife, is obsessed with inferiority complexes and believes Diana to be bound by luxury. Diana also wants children, while Roger regularly evades this topic. Roger has an affair with Lotte, for which he hardly feels anything. When Lotte tells him that they were invited as a couple, he separates from her immediately.

At the opening of his wife's gallery, Roger meets businessman Clas Greve. Greve was the managing director of a Dutch company that developed GPS systems and direction finders and claims to have given up that job after the company was sold. Roger works for a competitor of the company and would like to recruit Greve for them. From a conversation with his wife, Roger learns that Greve has a very valuable painting by Rubens . Here Roger's instinct as an art thief is awakened. He sees the theft of the picture as an opportunity to pay off his debts all at once. He has his rather simple-minded friend Ove make a copy of Rubens. He learns that Ove has installed a camera in his house that films a certain corner of his bedroom. In this way he can secretly film prostitutes who he lets come into his house. Roger breaks into Greve's apartment and steals the picture. He finds his wife's mobile phone in Greve's bedroom and concludes that Diana is having an affair with Greve.

Roger arranges a meeting of his client with Greve, but then makes it clear that Greve is only a candidate and has competition. He tells his wife that he will never find Greve the job. As he leaves the building, he meets Lotte and lets her get into his vehicle. She caresses him and caresses his hair wildly. Roger agrees with Kjikerud that he will bring the painting to Gothenburg that evening .

Roger later finds Ove Kjikerud apparently lifeless in his car in his garage. Kjikerud barely survives an assassination attempt with a lethal injection. Roger brings Ove home and an argument ensues based on a misunderstanding. Ove, who believes Roger wants to murder him, aims a machine gun at him and Roger has to shoot him in self-defense. On leaving the house, Roger meets Greve and realizes that he is following him. Roger flees Kjikerud's car to a hut on a farmer's land that belonged to Kjikerud and hides the picture there. Greve is chasing him with his dog. First, Roger manages to hide in the pit of the toilet, but when he tries to escape by car, he discovers that it is no longer ready to drive. He decides to take the farmer's tractor, but finds it murdered. He takes the keys and is surprised by the aggressive dog, which he can kill. Roger escapes with the tractor and, driven by his fear of persecution, drives into a ditch. A driver takes Roger to a hospital, where he wakes up and is guarded by police officers because he is accused of murdering the farmer.

Roger tries to escape, but is caught by the police and is then supposed to be taken to Oslo . On the way, the officers try to stop a stolen truck. However, it is Greve who drives the truck and rams the police vehicle off the road. The car falls down a slope and all of the occupants except Roger are killed. When Greve inspects the car with the disfigured corpses, Roger plays dead and can deceive Greve. Roger then frees himself from the vehicle and tries to impersonate a completely defaced police officer in order to deceive the authorities. He cuts his hair for this purpose. He escapes and seeks protection in his affair with Lotte, but is horrified to discover that she is involved in Greve's plan. She explains to him that Greve is still working for his old company and that it was all about spying on Roger's clients. First she tried to introduce the two of them to each other. When that didn't work, Greve began an affair with Roger's wife. During her later attempted advances, she distributed gel in Roger's hair that contained nanosensors developed by Greve. After Rogers decided not to mediate Greve, Greve decided to kill him. Roger lets him out of his sight for a moment, and when she tries to stab him with a kitchen knife, he kills her and escapes. In his house he meets Diana and explains the situation to her while she confesses to him the now-ended affair with Greve. Roger isn't sure if his wife is in league with Greve, but decides to trust her.

That same evening Diana visits Greve in his apartment and tells him about Roger's return. Roger lures Greve into Kjikerud's apartment with his hair cut off. Here Greve threatens Roger and tells him to kill him. However, when he shoots Roger, it turns out that Diana exchanged Greve's ammunition for blank cartridges during her visit . Roger pulls out Oves MP and shoots Greve. Roger arranges this so that House Greve's surveillance cameras record him shooting at the invisible bed with the dead Kjikerud. Roger removes more traces and leaves the house. Although the investigating commissioner found that Ove had already been dead for several days, in order to properly conclude the investigation and continue to have a 100 percent clear-up rate, the commissioner made the case look as if the two "art thieves" Greve and Kjikerud had met shot each other. Roger, who can get back to bourgeois life, uses the opportunity to reorganize his life together with Diana. He decides to stop stealing art and to accept his appearance. He presented his clients with a new managing director and had a child with Diana.


The reviews of the film were mostly positive. Around 92 percent of the Rotten Tomatoes reviews rate the film positively.

The lexicon of international films writes about the film:

"Gripping, darkly staged thriller based on a crime novel by Jo Nesbø, who initially takes a lot of time for his characters and their conflicts, but then unexpectedly changes direction, becomes hard and drastic and dissolves tension with grotesque exaggeration."

"After Jo Nesbo's bestseller, Headhunters is a slightly iconic mix that has both Tarantino-esque features and is reminiscent of films by the Coen brothers and at times reaches the rhythm of grotesque twists and turns from Guy Ritchie films."

- Dimitrios Athanassiou

In contrast, Peter Henning, a reviewer of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit , saw the film adaptation of the bestseller crime thriller as a failure. While he viewed the novel from 2010 as a “high-speed thriller” that “demonstrated in a fast-paced and intelligent way how convincing genre literature can be that is interested in the motivations of its characters […]”, his assessment of the film adaptation by Morten Tyldum falls much more negative. He describes the film as a “cinematic line version of the novel - well-made action cinema made in Norway, which, however, lacks any depth” and in which “Nesbø's text images are overheated, flattened and reduced in size” until at the end there is a collection of planar action sequences that at best gives an idea of ​​what Nesbø had in mind with the psychogram of his protagonist, who was under constant pressure ”. In his view, "the film narrative narrows step by step into a kind of cinematic tunnel vision that soon lets us see nothing more than the never-ending duel between Brown and Greve for power and Brown's briefly apostate wife Diana".


Headhunters was the first Norwegian film to be nominated for a BAFTA.

year price category receiver result
2012 Amanda People's Amanda Won
Best Actor Aksel Hennie Nominated
Best director Morten Tyldum Nominated
Best visual effects Lars Erik Hansen, Jan Svalland Nominated
2013 British Academy Film Award (BAFTA) Best Non-English Language Film Nominated
2013 Empire Award Best thriller Won
2012 European film award Best European Film Audience Award Nominated
2012 Golden Trailer Awards Best foreign action film trailer Nominated
2011 Philadelphia Film Festival Audience Award-Honorable Mention Won
2012 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best foreign film Nominated
2012 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Best foreign film Nominated
2013 Saturn Award Best international film Won
2012 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award Best Foreign Language Film Nominated

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for headhunters . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , December 2011 (PDF; test number: 130 588 K).
  2. Article in Moviefone (Engl.) ( Memento of the original November 29, 2014 Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link is automatically inserted and not yet tested. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / news.moviefone.com
  3. ^ Headhunters (2012). In: Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved January 4, 2013 .
  4. ^ Headhunters. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  5. Criticism on Moviemaze
  6. ^ A b c Peter Henning: Norwegian thriller with tunnel vision . In: Die Zeit , No. 11/2012.
  7. NTB: «Hodejegerne» vant publikumspris . In: Bergens Tidende , August 18, 2012. Accessed February 3, 2013. 
  8. Hodejegerne nominated to BAFTA ( Norwegian ) Norwegian Film Institute . January 9, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  9. ^ Headhunters heads for EFA . Norwegian Film Institute . September 5, 2012. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved February 4, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.nfi.no