This adaptation of Norwegian Jo Nesbø’s million-selling novel delivers Nordic Noir with a vengeance. A corporate recruitment specialist named Roger Brown is slightly ginger, not that tall, and living a luxury lifestyle he can’t afford – so he moonlights as an art thief to keep his blonde goddess spouse plied with expensive trinkets. Enter a former Special Forces agent who’s up for a vacant executive post, and has just discovered a missing Rubens canvas in his grandma’s Oslo attic. Dodgy Rog’s ego can’t resist one last big job, but we suspect he could be messing with the wrong guy.
Aksel Hennie’s roguish, Steve Buscemi-like protagonist is about to have his life turned into a Coens-style ultra-black comedy, as confident director Morten Tyldum piles on the eye-watering moments. Head-spinning plot twists are not in short supply, yet we never lose sight of the story’s basis in male emotional fragility. A Hollywood studio has optioned it, but their version won’t be anywhere near as dark and sinewy as this. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)