This week I'm doing the same thing again - looking at a film and a book - but with a grown up thriller this time - Headhunters by Jo Nesbo. This time, I liked the film of Headhunters slightly more than I did the book. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading the book, although I did have several strong reservations about it. I completed it last September and this is the brief review I left on my Goodreads Book Page:
Enjoyable, escapist read. A little difficult at times to suspend my disbelief because so many bad things happen so swiftly to the protagonist - but a great deal of fun! A little slow and awkward I thought initially.
I recall finding the first fifty pages quite difficult to read. Roger Brown, the book's protagonist, is not an immediately likeable character, although by the end of the book I'd acquired a certain admiration for him. Fifty pages is normally my cut-off point; if I'm not enjoying myself I simply put the thing down and pick up something else - I decided some years back that life's far too short to muddle through books I don't like! However, this was an occasion when I read on simply because I trusted the brand. Jo Nesbo has invariably seen me through to the end of each of his books with a smile on my face - sometimes a grudging or rather bemused one if I feel he's used a sleight of hand that wandered too far below the belt - but really and truly, who cares? This isn't Marcel Proust! I'm not reading it to improve my understanding of the human psyche. Nesbo is a thriller-writer at the very top of his game. With Headhunters I continued beyond my own fifty pages rule, reading about a protagonist I didn't much care for, simply because I believed Nesbo would pull it off - and he did! ... But only just!
I think the film (watched on DVD) was in many ways more engaging than the novel. I suppose one of the major differences between a book and a film is that a tale requiring fifteen thousand words to establish itself, can in a film be adequately explained in just a few minutes of visual shorthand. This was definitely the case with Headhunters. The movie has a terrific pace, also the plot alterations they'd made were in my view entirely for the better, successfully making Roger Brown (the main character) far easier to sympathise with than he ever was in the book. The producers also managed to instil quite a few moments of humour (usually dark) into the unfolding story. The violence in the film is done well too I think, and to my mind wasn't simply gratuitous. However, if squeamish, be warned it does contain a few brief but gory images, necessary to the development of the plot.
I think this was the first movie I've ever seen in Norwegian!