HEADHUNTERS (Hodejegerne in Norwegian, which just looks cooler) is a brisk, taught Scandinavian thriller of the first order. With a sleek, glossy look mixed with mud-strewn exteriors, it manages to remain compelling despite some pretty clear signals regarding the film’s eventual outcome.

Roger (Aksel Hennie) is the headhunter for a group of companies, juggling a life between his statuesque wife and his mistress who wants to play a greater role in his life. In order to keep his wife accustomed to the lifestyle he can’t provide through normal means, he dallies in Art theft. As one would expect, it all goes wrong, and he’s forced to run from those who chase him for the remainder of the film.

While the plot lacks subtlety, the execution is actually quite compelling throughout. Well shot and performed, the cast as a whole seems believable throughout. Hennie in particular captures the right balance between abject fear and competency as he eludes those chasing him. The cops aren’t so dumb, nor the criminals so perfect or one-dimensional, such that while upon reflection it might appear pretty second rate, during the ride it’s a lot of fun. There are great stunts and set pieces, all held together with sure direction and an unobtrusive editing style.

HEADHUNTERS might not break any new ground in the genre, but it’s a clever enough retread of a bunch of tired trends that it becomes something quite engaging. Don’t be surprised to see an English language remake – this is just clever and safe enough (comparisons might be made to INSOMNIA’s adaptation) that it’s bound to find a more universal telling.