Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is all too aware of his own shortcomings. That’s what comes of being a successful corporate headhunter, having a statuesque blond wife (Synnøve Macody Lund) and topping out heightwise at 5’6” – you overcompensate with the finer things, from expensive meals to the latest fashions, maintaining the highest standard of living. But when disposable income inevitably dwindles, what do you do? For Roger, the answer is simple: moonlight as an art thief.
That would be enough of a premise for most movies but this crazily amusing thriller, adapted from a popular novel by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø, isn’t content to stick with heist genre conventions. After Roger steals the painting of a slickly charming business rival (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), our self-assured, snappily dressed protagonist’s perfect life spectacularly unravels: he discovers his wife is cheating on him, his partner in crime is murdered, and are those little tracking devices in his hair? As the twists and turns get nuttier, so do the set pieces – there’s a gleefully retchworthy suspense scene in an outhouse, as well as a comically macabre car crash with two obese cops used as human air bags – and Hennie, who looks like a Nordic clone of Christopher Walken, makes for a splendidly charming antihero. Though the film wraps up its spinning-plates narrative a little too neatly, this is still a Scandi-noir to die for.
From Time Out London
Dir Morten Tyldum, category IIB, 100 mins, opens on Thu Sep 20