With a career built on prestige period dramas like Atonement
and Pride & Prejudice
, Joe Wright has given Hanna
, his first foray into the action genre, the same mannered house style--turning a potential career left-turn into something of a busman's holiday. Saoirse Ronan plays Hanna, a home-schooled teen assassin who can take out out a pack of government agents like she's making a wish. She is being prepared by her black-ops father (Eric Bana) for a showdown with the CIA spy-catcher (Cate Blanchett) that murdered her mother and forced them into the icy wilds of northern Finland. When the time comes, Hanna re-enters civilisation with wide-eyed curiosity--she's never encountered music, TV or even a light switch before--and, as designed, these petals of innocence only intensify the moment when her sabre-toothed killing skills are unleashed to a thumping score by The Chemical Brothers. But just as the film is about to settle, Bourne
-style, into the familiar tracks of an identity quest, Hanna veers off in search of a different kind of self-knowledge, and the middle third of the film is a folksy coming-of-age travel diary in which Hanna, drifting through the Moroccan countryside, experiences music, friendship and the open road. Fortunately, the slower scenes are carried by a strong cast: Saoirse Ronan has a wraithlike physical charisma, while Tom Hollander (The Thick of It
) is pure venom as the Euro-trash sadist employed to hunt her down. The film's action-packed final lap, set in the ruins of a Brothers Grimm-themed amusement park, feels like all the corruption and cruelty of the world being reduced to wreckage at the bare hands of a willowy teenage girl. --Leo Batchelor
Joe Wright directs this adventure thriller starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana. Raised deep in the Finnish wilderness by her ex-CIA agent father Erik (Bana), Hanna (Ronan) has been carefully trained throughout her childhood to become the perfect assassin. Now in her teens, she is finally judged by her father to be ready to be sent out on a mission, and she sets out across Europe to carry out her deadly assignment. On her trail is Marissa Wiegler (Blanchett), a ruthless intelligence agent with a few dark secrets of her own.