When’s it out?
Who’s in it?
Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams.
What’s it about?
A sixteen-year-old girl, raised in the barrens of northern Finland and trained from birth – by her father – to be a ruthless assassin, embarks upon her first ever mission; to murder a corrupt CIA operative named Marissa Wiegler.
What’s it like?
A sparse but strangely epic contemporary fairytale.
Star of the show?
Eric Bana – an actor who has been in perpetual freefall since his astonishing debut in Chopper over a decade ago – is used somewhat sparingly here, but he’s given room to deliver his best, and his most understated, performance in years. Blanchett is as delectable as ever and Joe Wright proves that he’s a far, far more interesting (and visionary) filmmaker than many people have given him credit for thus far. But even with everyone on such supreme form, the film belongs to Saoirse Ronan. She’s never anything less than entirely convincing in the title role, and it’s a shame that the popcorn-inflected nature of this project will probably rule it out of serious consideration come awards season next year. Ronan deserves an Oscar nomination for Hanna. At the very least.
Shrewdly delivered plot twists pop up throughout the entirety of the film’s duration, and one of the most invigorating things about it is how smartly it’s being sold. For example, the trailer – which you can view at the bottom of this page – looks as if it has given you way too much information but it hasn’t done anything of the kind. It’s never easy to second-guess it either and for a thriller, that is no mean feat. But it is the thunderous, propulsive kick that’s brought to the table by the Chemical Brothers‘ outstanding original score that probably surprises the most. It shouldn’t fit, but it does. Perfectly.
There isn’t a standout scene as such, but the light-hearted mid-section – featuring exactly the right amount of comedy – could have ruined the film if it wasn’t so deftly directed.
Hanna is a fantastically enjoyable action thriller that’s literally full of surprises, and director Joe Wright is to be commended for keeping his hand so close to his chest throughout it. The plot never goes quite where you expect it to, and the odd, off-kilter nature of everything – the way that the violence is primary but never glorified, the leisurely pace, and the logically inexplicable nature of one particular (pivotal) plot device – all make it feel completely unique; and the comparisons that have been made to a handful of well-known, centuries-old fairy tales are well earned indeed. It’s entertaining in all the ways you would expect… and quite a few that you wouldn’t.
Hit or miss?
Hit. And a future cult classic, for sure.
Watch the Hanna trailer here…