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Martin Vinge, (35), former notorious journalist, now successful headhunter with a complicated personal life, is in all confidentiality contacted by 85 year-old N.F. Sieger, S.E.O. of Denmark's largest shipping company and oil empire. Sieger hires Martin to find an alternative heir to the firm instead of his son, Daniel Sieger, who for a long time has been destined to take the company into the next era. Martin starts coming up with suitable names for the position, but discovers that he has actually been entangled in a larger impenetrable power game aimed at deciding what is really going to happen to the company; a brutal power struggle that puts an intense pressure on Martin and his private life and relationships. Written by
Martin Vinge is an accomplished recruiter of high-profile business talent, a man who thrives on corporate cut and thrust. Less successful as the estranged father of a seriously ill son, and carrying regret from his time as an investigative journalist and an incident involving a politician, he faces his biggest test yet when embroiled in the dynastic politics of a large shipping company.
Writer/director Rumie Hammerich invests this tale with Shakespearean gravitas. with Martin ostensibly in the employ of Lear-like elder Sieger, but menaced by his Iago-esque son Daniel. The chrome and steel surfaces of the offices shine and the Ikea domestic interiors are all hard edges, giving the film a David Fincher look while also heightening the cold, amoral shenanigans of the players. Martin's weak point is his son, and he plays a precarious balancing game in selling out to get his son the private medical care he needs, while simultaneously going after the truth of the story that his deep moral core compels him to uncover.
Lars Mikkelsen as Martin Vinge is brooding and conflicted. His one connection is journalist Nina (Charlotte Munck), unhappily married, compromised and flawed, as if to say Martin could only be attracted to a female version of himself. Except she is a decent parent. Mikkelsen's performance is perfect, always keeping things just below the surface so that we go along with Martin on his journey without ever truly getting to know why he embraces the contradictions of his undertaking so fully. There are some satisfying twists along the way, and moments of droll humour. Martin entering a room where only the women remain, and their synchronized pointing to the elevator, is a visual delight. In fact, the visual sheen of the whole film is rapturous, most reminiscent of Fincher's The Game.
This is a high quality thriller that exhibits judicious economy and steady pacing. It is the film Michael Clayton wanted to be. Mature, thoughtful filmmaking with a woody Scandinavian scent.
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