Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Alternate Best Supporting 2011: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Headhunters

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Clas Greve in Headhunters.

Headhunters is an enjoyable off-beat thriller about an art thief/executive recruiter Roger (Aksel Hennie) who chooses the wrong man to be his next mark.

Now in the lead role we have an atypical leading man in Aksel Hennie, which plays directly into his character. A shorter man so insecure about his relationship with his attractive wife that it is actually his motivation to steal the art. We follow our unusual lead as he goes about ripping people off, and eventually he reaches his next target. This next target looking perhaps the type of man we'd usually follow in the role of an international art thief. That being Clas Greve played by Jamie Lannister himself Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Coster-Waldau plays into this idea wholeheartedly by embracing a full on charismatic smugness. From his first scene where Roger comes across Clas, as both someone to steal from and for his job as a recruiter, Clas is in a different class (no pun intended) of his own. Coster-Waldau dominates in the way he should, as he brings such an unabashed assurance to the man who seems as though he is absolutely in control of the situation even though Roger decides to use the man as simply another target to steal from.

Coster-Waldau effectively makes Clas a good personification for all of Roger's insecurities as he presents a man who is without doubt, without hesitation, and most importantly Coster-Waldau just exudes self-confidence with that sly grin of his. This is even when Roger begins to find out less savory elements of the man, such as severe scarring on his back, and the fact that he appears to be a former mercenary. Of course nothing helps when it appears that Roger's wife has slept with Clas, and there is a great moment where Roger is pondering this with Coster-Waldau just being so perfectly complacent in his superiority.  The film eventually has its turn when Clas begins to try to kill Roger, though Roger is unsure of the exact reason. Coster-Waldau technically does not switch up his performance as the film shifts into a direct thriller, and in doing so helps the film keep its intended lighter touch.

Coster-Waldau makes for a great sadistic pursuer simply by staying that same smug satisfied self. This works since the man without a personal shame also works for a man without mercy. Coster-Waldau merely reveals that Clas was never really hiding himself in anyway, but rather was simply more literally cutthroat than in the corporate sense. Coster-Waldau certainly brings more than enough menace in his portrayal of a man who is as assured as a hitman, as he is socially. Coster-Waldau carries himself through these scenes as a man whose done it many times before, and killing another is something he is most comfortable with. This is technically a limited performance, much more season one Jamie than season three Jamie, but that's is entirely the point as he stands as such a great contrast to Hennie's performance. Clas is a man without regrets or empathy, and Coster-Waldau realizes that so well through his purposefully constricted performance. This makes the ending all the more satisfying, and Coster-Waldau is equally good in that payoff through the brief moment where Clas's confidence finally slips. 

57 comments:

Matt Mustin said...

Ratings and thoughts on Hennie?

Michael McCarthy said...

I'd agree with the writing even though I didn't really like the film. It seemed weirdly fetishy to me.

Michael McCarthy said...

^rating

Calvin Law said...

I'm going to watch this ASAP. Watched The Debt, thought the whole cast was solid, and if Louis agrees with me and gives Worthington a strong 4 verging on a 4.5, I might just be right with my predictions.

Robert MacFarlane said...

@Calvin: Worthington was such a surprise back when I saw The Debt back in 2011. For me he's the heart and soul of the film. The cast is pretty good like you said (except for Marton Csokas hamming it up once again, and Jesper Christensen's last scene hurt an otherwise good villain performance).

Calvin Law said...

Robert: Didn't mind Csokas as much as I usually do but he was rather broad compared to Chastain and Worthington. Worthington was the MVP for me too.

Varun Neermul said...

'Stranger Things' has a touch of Spielberg? Am I alone thinking so?

Alex Marqués said...

No, you're not, everybody thinks the same.

Alex Marqués said...

Portman is getting Oscar-buzz for "Jackie".

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your casts and directors for remakes of Giant and Friendly Persuasion in the present day.

Anonymous said...

Alex: Let'see if she's good in that.

Anonymous said...

*Let's see

Calvin Law said...

Saw both Bridget Jones' Baby and Sully. Former was predictable but enjoyable enough, latter was pretty good even though there were a few flaws in Eastwood's style and the limitations of the material, and Hanks was solid.

Zewellger: 3.5
Firth: 3
Dempsey: 2.5

Hanks: 4 (verging on a 4.5)
Eckhart: 3.5
Linney: 2.5

Varun Neermul said...

Loved 'Stranger Things' it was filled with amazing performances and a story that kept you invested.

Ratings: Wiona Ryder 5 (She was a little to much in some scenes, but it made more of an effect later in her performance)

David Harbour: 5

McLaughlin: 4

Heaton: 5

Dyer: 5

Matarazzo: 5

Wolfhard: 4

Brown: 5 (My mvp)

Schnapp: 4

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the South Park Season 20 Premiere, if you have seen it.

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

Hennie - 4.5(A very good performance as he succeeds in creating a most unusual lead for this type of story. He's great at presenting kind of the expected confidence of the "art thief" yet Hennie is effective by realizing this constant nervousness underneath it all, always keeping in mind his rather severe insecurities. Hennie though importantly manages to make his character, who technically should be unlikable, actually rather endearing. He manages just to find the right way to portray the weaknesses of the character that they feel wholly earnest. He's particularly good in the thriller scenes by portraying the fear of a guy who really should not be in that kind of situation.)

Varun:

Also some Wes Craven, John Carpenter, and Joe Dante.

Anonymous:

Friendly Persuasion Directed by Ang Lee:

Jess Birdwell: Woody Harrelson
Eliza Birdwell: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Josh Birdwell: Will Poulter
Jess Birdwell: Jacob Tremblay

Giant directed by David McKenzie:

Bick: Chris Evans
Leslie: Sarah Gadon
Jett: Ben Foster
Luz: Neve Campbell
Luz II: Elle Fanning
Jordan: Tye Sheridan

Tahmeed:

Wasn't too crazy about it, especially since it seems they are going full TOPICAL like they did last season, but I'll admit I laughed a couple of times.

Calvin Law said...

Well I've finished The People vs OJ Mayo now. Gooding Jr was terrible overall but I actually thought his last scene was great. Paulson and Brown were great, I enjoyed Travolta, Lane and Travolta were entertaining, I liked Choi and Ito, Vance was probably MVP, and I might be in the minority here but I loved David Schwimmer. And I hate him on Friends.

Calvin Law said...

Yeah, Ben Foster as Jett would be great.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

I thought Paulson was the MVP. Her performance in the episode "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" was simply heartbreaking. I think she'll win the Emmy and I'd be quite happy with (she probably should have won for American Horror Story: Asylum and American Horror Story: Freak Show) although I'm still wishing for a Kirsten Dunst' upset.

94dfk1 said...

Louis: Thoughts on Sharlto Copley as an actor? He's really caught my attention in the Free Fire trailer.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

David Schwimmer was actually pretty damn good in People vs OJ. He's my fourth favourite of the cast behind Paulson, Vance and Brown. And I actually like his early work on Friends (the first four seasons). All of the characters did become caricatures following that.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Also glad to see that Hennie's made it into the top 10 for 2011 Lead Actor :)

Robert MacFarlane said...

Saw Snowden. JGL is actually pretty great in it. I thought the vocal inflections would be distracting, but they ended up working. I have... issues with the movie, though.

Calvin Law said...

I thought he might be, most of the reviews praise him but say the film is just...overblown and unfocused which I'm guessing is one of your problems with it.

Robert MacFarlane said...

The complaints about it being unfocused confuse me. That wasn't a problem. My problem was that it canonizes the shit out of him with no room for moral ambiguity. That's not surprising since it's Oliver Stone, but the inspirational music near the end is basically where it lost me. Not to mention it's about 20 minutes too long. But it is well acted on all fronts. Rhys Ifans really stands out for the supporting cast.

94dfk1 said...

Now I wonder what Louis' review of Gordon-Levitt in Snowden will look like if he gets around to watching the film.

Calvin Law said...

I'm most looking forward to Louis' reviews of him in Mysterious Skin and maybe Brick.

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your overall thoughts on J.K. Simmons as an actor?

Varun Neermul said...

Just watched 'In The Bedroom' again. Spacek and Wilkinson are my wins for that year and the movies is my favorite of that year.

Calvin Law said...

I just realized how great 2015 really was for film. I re-watched Carol and Mad Max Fury Road back to back and now my top 3 of 2015 are pretty much equal to one another; I've put Carol back in first place for the timebeing but they could switch around at any point, and I hate to put Creed and Brooklyn at 4th and 5th.

Varun: I don't love the film as much as you, but Spacek and Wilkinson are exceptional. They're my runner ups to Watts and Hackman for me in their respective years.

Varun Neermul said...

Louis, your top 10 Sissy Spacek performances.

Louis Morgan said...

Saw Hunt for the Wilderpeople, loved it, might be my #2 for the year so far.

94dk1:

Copley - (His District 9 work speaks for itself, and with that and Chappie, where he was the only good thing about that film, I'd say as a subtle performer he's simply great. As a broader performer, which he's sort of been pigeonholed for the most due to always been cast as the villain since his breakout, he's more of an acquired taste, a limited acquired taste, in fact I'm one of the few who enjoy it.)

Anonymous:

Simmons - (A great character actor all around. Like any character actor he does not always get a great role, but usually even then he stands out well for his few seconds of screentime. When he has a juicy role like J. Jonah or Fletcher though he's rather mesmerizing to watch all in his own particular way)

Varun:

1. Badlands
2. Coal Miner's Daughter
3. Carrie
4. In The Bedroom
5. The Straight Story
6. The Long Walk Home
7. Get Low
8. Missing
9. Affliction
10. Prime Cut

Calvin Law said...

Thoughts on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and thoughts/ratings on the cast? Although I'd actually be interested in potential future reviews for the cast.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Have you seen What We Do in the Shadows, Louis?

Calvin Law said...

^I'm really interested in that one.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your thoughts on the score of Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Varun Neermul said...

Louis:v

Sissy Spacek quote:

"I was a very inexperienced actor, but that was probably the pinnacle. I should be so good again. That was when I had absolutely no inhibitions. I trusted completely. I was putty in Terry’s hands."

Calvin Law said...

Loved Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Probably my #2 or #3 for the year now. Waititi is my #1 for director now.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

I think I'll actually save both Dennison and Neill (who borders but I think I'd put in supporting).

The film itself I felt Waititi finds just about the perfect balance in tone. In that he manages to bring his usual sense of humor, with there being plenty of laugh out loud moments, but along with a very genuine heart to the whole proceedings. I absolutely believed the central relationship, and found it really quite affecting by the end. Waititi goes even further with just how he captures such a sense of place within the New Zealand bush as well. It's rare combination but I found it to be a hilarious and beautiful film.

Darby - 3(Funny bit of madness for a little bit.)

House - 3.5(Found basically all of her lines to be comedic gold since she played her part with such intensity)

Basically everyone else added a bit something as well in their very minor parts.

Beasts I found has a great score. In that it captures very much this communal sort of feeling while having a certain grander element about it. The film itself is one I wish I could love more, since it is one of those films where I cannot easily identify what keeps me emotionally detached from it.

Robert:

Yes I have.

Calvin Law said...

Agreed, not a single weak link in the whole cast. I get what you mean about Beasts, you either love it or don't, personally I adore it.

Michael McCarthy said...

I've also seen What We Do in the Shadows. I think it's hysterical.

Matt Mustin said...

I've also seen What We Do in the Shadows, and although I think it has some truly hilarious moments (everything with Rhys Darby for example) I didn't love it overall.

94dfk1 said...

I'm really looking forward to how Redmayne acts in Fantastic Beasts, considering the polarized reception of his past performances on here.

Thoughts on Jeff Nichols tackling the Alien Nation remake, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Louis: So, apparently there's going to be a modern remake of High Noon. Thoughts on this?

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: which are your top 10 films of 2016 so far?

Louis Morgan said...

94dk1:

Can't say I'm all too thrilled about it. It's the type of material(I've seen parts of the original), that has an emphasis on plot, not Nichols's strong suit, and sci-fi which with Midnight Special, he showed he's not all that comfortable with. It seems Nichols wants to be a Spielberg, when really he should just embrace being a Martin Ritt instead.

Anonymous:

I'm all for it. The setup itself is great. I'd prefer if it would tell a whole new story with just the central concept, of the Sheriff waiting High Noon, however a direct remake could work as well since there is definitely room for improvement with the original.

Louis Morgan said...

Alex:

1. Hell or High Water
2. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
3. Green Room
4. Eye in the Sky
5. Captain America: Civil War
6. Deadpool
7. Sing Street
8. The Neon Demon
9. Hail, Caesar!
10. The Nice Guys

94dfk1 said...

I saw Hell or High Water on Thursday. A solid first half but capped off with an excellent second half. The heist scenes are very well-done. I wouldn't be surprised if Mackenzie is getting studio offers as Lowery with Pete's Dragon and Villenueve with Blade Runner. One of the best of the year, to date (haven't seen Sing Street, Eye in the Sky, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, or The Neon Demon yet.) 4.5/5

Pine: 4.5 (Gives a really good leading performance that fits the film adequately. Properly shows that he indeed feels guilty underneath all the bank robberies.)
Bridges: 4.5 (He started at 4 for me, but really shines in the second half. Indeed a hoot at the beginning, but is excellent in his showcase scenes later on.)
And of course,
Foster: 5 (Makes Tanner believable as a guy you could actually meet who just can't quit doing what he does.)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Have you seen anything else recently.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I saw Sully. I honestly liked it a lot more than the rest of you seemed to. And frankly it has my favorite Hanks performance in it.

Calvin Law said...

For me,

1. Captain America: Civil War (5/5)
2. Eye in the Sky (5/5)
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (5/5)
4. Hail, Caesar! (4.5/5)
5. Green Room (4.5/5)
6. The Neon Demon (4.5/5)
7. Sing Street (4.5/5)
8. Everybody Wants Some!! (4.5/5)
9. Deadpool (4.5/5)
10. Keanu (4/5)

Varun Neermul said...

Louis, your thoughts on the 'The Thin Red Line' and your top 5 Terrence Malick movies.

Luke Higham said...

The Thin Red Line

The Thin Red Line is a brilliant film by Terence Malick as it is the perfect melding between his own personal style and material for him. It tells a story that's been told behind in a broader sense, that being a battle in World War II, specifically in this case the battle of Guadalcanal. It takes a most unorthodox, and effective approach by keeping the stream of consciousness of various men throughout the battle, and taking time to linger on these individual faces giving a pivotal life to every casualty. These are never faceless men being mowed down in the crossfire, as Malick paints a powerful depiction of the true brutality of war through the potential beauty in the life of every individual around it. It's a beautiful film too look at and listen to, yet the brutality of the situation is never hidden instead it is so elegantly wrapped into such a fascinating portrait of how war relates to nature and the human condition. As a film it's the true realization of Malick's potential as it takes his more abstract ideas and always grounds them in a reality. It never allows him to escape all the way instead keeping him with just the right boundaries to craft a masterpiece.
5/5

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Just saw that Robin Williams has been upped to a 3 for Dead Poets Society. I'm glad :)

Louis Morgan said...

Varun:

1. The Thin Red Line
2. Badlands
3. Days of Heaven
4. The Tree of Life
5. The New World

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on the screenplay of Chinatown?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

One of the greatest screenplays ever written. It is masterful in its construction, in terms of its revelation of the plot elements, the way they are devised, and executed. It is a complex plot, but one that you can always follow. It goes beyond that never forgetting to develop its character flawlessly as the plot proceeds forward. There are few films written as well as that film.