Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) has a seemingly perfect life. He has a great job as an executive recruiter, a supermodel looking wife who loves him, and really everything that a person could want. Did we mention that he’s supplementing his lifestyle by stealing high-end art?
The Plot – Twists and Turns
Run, don’t walk to see this film. Buy it sight unseen because it is that good. After you’ve seen it, come back to read if you agree with why I loved it so much.
The movie is a must see, but not necessarily for its more overt elements. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a good film, but it’s greatest accomplishment is in the fact that the plot does not take the worn-out road of predictability. At every turn the writers have thought about where the story might normally go and they’ve deliberately taken it in a different direction.
A choice example of this is a scene early on where our protagonist Roger Brown is in the middle of a thieving job. At the beginning of the film he’s setup the rules of the game for us, but for some reason he’s chosen to break the rules. Even without the film forcing us into being worried, we instinctively assume something is about to happen to drive the story in a normally predictable direction. Mainly, we believe that he could get caught at any moment because of his deviation of the rules. Instead, we’re given a brand new plot element to digest and the story is propelled in a new and unexpected direction. This continues to happen in new and different ways throughout the duration of the film making it a great pleasure to watch, especially for those of us who are veterans of film watching.
It’s a pleasure to see films like this that are not only made for the general filmgoer who forgets everything they’ve seen moments after leaving the theater, but it’s always made to keep us heavy weights who have become wise to the tropes of movie-based storytelling.
For risk of spoiling the film for those that are reading this and haven’t seen it yet, I’ll stop there and talk about the other components that make up this highly recommended picture. There’s really very little that isn’t handle well. The casting is especially well handled.
Aksel Hennie who plays the protagonist is appropriately uninteresting visually — his character has supposedly turned to robbery to compensate for the simple fact that he is less than impressive physically. He plays this up to a T. He plays a weazel of a prick. A manipulator who reels you in and smacks you down as soon as he’s got what he needs from you. He’s really kind of unlikeable to everyone except for his supermodel of a wife and he’s deathly afraid that she might catch on some day and leave him for someone better. Aksel sells his character really well throughout and even manages to change our view of him when the time comes.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister from A Game of Thrones) shows why he was cast in the Lannister role. He plays the potential rival to Aksel’s Brown, a far better looking man who also manages to be very likeable by everyone except Roger Brown who immediately sees him as his downfall. Little does he know how literal that thought will play itself out however. Like Jaime on Game… Nikolaj’s Clas Greve is only a nice guy on the outside. On the inside he’s a sociopath of a highest order. Ruthless and calculating to degrees that will test Roger Brown from the moment they meet. Roger thinks he has found an easy mark in Greve, but he has no idea how out of depth he’s about to find himself. Great performance from Nikolaj. Nothing we haven’t seen in some of the better episodes of Game… still stellar work.
All the other supporting characters are equally a pleasure to watch. Most fun is the sex and gun crazed Ove Kjikerud played by actor Eivind Sander. He’s the thieving partner to Roger Brown. The audience’s introduction to Ove is too hilarious, but not to be spoiled by me. Great stuff.
Icing on the cake is the really well handled action set pieces. Literally every action sequence is excellently staged and executed. Each is unique and exciting in its own manner with highlights being a chase in the woods involving an outhouse and a tractor and a later death defying hit and run that leaves you holding your breathe.
Acting, story, action, and direction. All well planned and well executed. Did I mention that you should run, don’t walk to see the film?! Do it. You’ll thank us later.
A grade for the plot
A grade for the acting
A grade for the direction
Overall grade of A+ for awesome sauce.