Sunday, July 24, 2011


Year: 2011
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Jason Flemyng, Olivia Williams

Plot: After being raised as a ruthless assassin by her father, a former CIA operative, 16 year old Hanna is sent on a mission to kill her father's former handler Marissa Weigler, before Weigler finds them first.

Review: I hadn't watched any of Joe Wright's films before, I wasn't a fan of his period dramas Pride And Prejudice or Atonement. But the prospect of seeing Saoirse Ronan in an action role was too good to pass up.

The film is part drama, part adventure and part Jason Bourne type action cinema, minus the car chases. Hanna may be a teenage girl cum assassin, but she's still a girl. She has a lot to learn about the world after being kept from it by her father Erik, so much that when she ventures out, she finds it peculiar to see things we take for granted now, like electricity, music or television. Then when the bad guys come calling, she dispatches them with deadly precision.

All this is possible thanks to Saoirse Ronan, who is just amazing as Hanna. Ronan has that exotic quality that reflects off her pretty face, a quality that showcases her innocence and at the same time something dangerous lurking underneath. Best of all, Ronan does her own fighting here, which makes it even more outstanding. She is ably supported by Eric Bana, who plays her father. Bana grounds the story and as the story progresses, you'll realise that he has as much to hide from Hanna as the villain does. The villain is Marissa, played by Cate Blanchett. Initially I hated the idea of Cate playing a villain because the last time she did that, it didn't work. But here, she's much better, displaying no emotion as she goes out of her way tying up all loose ends that might come back to haunt her. Tom Hollander adds some colour to the proceedings as Marissa's flamboyant hired hand.

Joe Wright may not have much experience in action films, but he does quite all right here. The fight scenes are well filmed and the camerawork is pretty good too. There is a scene where Bana arrives at the bus station and walks to the subway where he is surrounded by four agents. The camera follows him from the station to the subway in one long continuous shot. It might sound simple, but it's little things like that that make this film stand out.

However, Hanna does suffer from having to end with some questions unanswered. I don't know if there's a sequel planned, but if there isn't, then you may have to live with some things not fully explained. But this, and a few pacing issues, are just minor flaws.

If you're looking for something different amidst all the summer blockbusters out there, Hanna is a good choice. (3.5/5)

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