This week's movie releases
Headhunters is the latest celluloid convert from Scandinavia's current rich seam of crime fiction
Following in the wake of big-screen versions - both Swedish and American - of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, Headhunters, based on the book by bestselling Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, is another celluloid convert from Scandinavia's current rich seam of crime fiction. Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a top headhunter. He's also just 1.68 meters tall and living way beyond his means, with a multi-million-euro house and a leggy blonde wife who is way out of his league. He pulls all this off by living a secret life as an art thief. When his wife introduces him to a Danish former CEO and elite soldier (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of TV series Game of Thrones), who's not only perfect for the position he's trying to fill, but also has a priceless lost Rubens in his apartment, it all points to a way out of his predicament - or a trap. Norwegian director Morten Tyldum's movie lacks the Larsson books' fascinating characters but is rip-roaringly plotted, often teetering on the edge of the absurd - witness the sight of Brown, caked in excrement, careering down a country road in a tractor with a dead dog impaled on the front. Little of it stands up to much scrutiny and a late sentimental streak is particularly unwelcome, but this is tense, grotesque fun. Needless to say the Hollywood remake is already in the works.
Sylvester Stallone's career has had more peaks (Rocky and Rambo) and troughs (remember Oscar, D-Tox, Get Carter?) than a cardiogram but, despite never being quite as much fun as its 1980s action hero parts suggest, his The Expendables was a box-office high. And so we have The Expendables 2, in which the 66-year-old actor-writer rejoins his crack team of mercenaries - Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, among them - for a new mission that sees them out for revenge when one of their own is killed on a seemingly simple job. Simon West (Con Air) takes over behind the camera, while also along for the ride this time are Jean-Claude Van Damme (51) and Chuck Norris (72). This burgeoning franchise for fading action stars once again features cameos from Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
From Chilean director Cristián Jiménez, Bonsái is a story of "love, books and plants," starring Diego Noguero as a man who applies for a job to help an author type out the manuscript of his latest novel. He doesn't get it, so instead decides to write his own book - choosing a romance he enjoyed eight years before as the theme - and pass it off as one by the writer.