Scandinavian novel adaptation like 'Dragon Tattoo' without the effects

By Cary Darling

McClatchy Newspapers

Published: Friday, June 1 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Askel Hennie in HEADHUNTERS

Magnet Releasing, Magnet Releasing

"HEADHUNTERS" — ★★★ — Aksel Hennie, Synn?ve Macody Lund and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau; R; (bloody violence, grisly images, strong sexual content, nudity); in Norwegian and Danish with English subtitles; Broadway

"Headhunters," the latest Scandinavian page-turner to make it to the big screen, is an almost perfect example of the form. Suspenseful, clever, and squirm-inducing without having to resort to high-budget effects, it manages — in one especially stomach-turning scene — to put the "ill" in thriller.

Aksel Hennie is Roger, an Oslo executive who seems to have it all: cushy career, gorgeous Heidi Klum look-alike wife (Synn?ve Macody Lund) and a home straight out of a Swedish architecture magazine.

But he's subsidizing his lifestyle with something a little riskier than borrowing from his 401K: art heists. When he plots to steal an extremely rare Rubens from the home of Clas Greve (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, best known as Jaime Lannister on "Game of Thrones"), a mysterious newcomer to town, his comfy life turns into a deadly cat-and-mouse game.

Based on a Norwegian novel by co-writer Jo Nesb? and directed with nail-chomping intensity by Morten Tyldum, "Headhunters" is full of chilly, Nordic calm masking the burning fires of jealousy, ambition and revenge underneath.

That girl with the dragon tattoo doesn't have anything on these guys.

"Headhunters" is rated R for bloody violence, grisly images, strong sexual content and nudity; running time 100 minutes

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