Review: Hanna

The excellent Saorise Ronan and Jessica Barden
Atonement director, Joe Wright's latest feature Hanna, stars Saorise Ronan as a 16 year old - trained as the perfect assassin by her father (Eric Bana). She is sent on a mission across Europe, however is being pursued by ruthless agents lead by corrupt CIA official, Maria Wiegler (Cate Blanchett).

After seeing the trailer for Hanna, I was rather unmoved by it all. It didn't look like anything overly exciting or memorable. However, I was pleasantly surprised after viewing the film. Joe Wright presents us with an atmospheric, well crafted chase-thriller with excellent lead and supporting performances. Wright's direction brings class to what could have been a run of the mill action flick. The film opens with Hanna and her father in Finland, these scenes are quite strikingly shot and make full use of the snow covered locales. He also makes stunning use of the other European locations from rural Morocco to the urban playground of Berlin. The action scenes are well choreographed and tense from Hanna escaping from being held in the CIA underground safe house to a tense chase through a Moroccan dockyard. These scenes work especially well with a funky techo score from The Chemical Brothers.
Eric watches in disgust.

We also see several coming of age elements in Hanna when she interacts with those in the 'real world'. Hanna meets a liberal, almost hippie family after escaping from the CIA. Hanna develops a friendship with the family's daughter, Sophie (played by the fantastic Jessica Barden) and ventures out on a date with two Moroccan boys. In these scenes, and throughout the film Saorise Ronan is excellent, for such a young actress she carries the film incredibly well. However, one slight criticism is the way in which these scenes are directed - in an almost over emotional and loving way - especially one scene where Hanna lies with Sophie, where it seems Wright is trying to go for a lesbian subplot. 

The wonderful flame haired Blanchett
Cate Blanchett is wonderful as the CIA official, obsessed with stopping Hanna. Her Southern Dolly Parton-esque drawl brings a strange likeable charm to such a ruthless character. It's really a testament to Blanchett's acting. Eric Bana is also perfectly cast, a magnificent actor whom we sadly do not see enough of. The film also features several 'compulsory' shirtless shots of Bana, which do not go a miss. The supporting cast also shine, from possibly the campest villain, Isaacs (Tom Hollander), a German mercenary who dresses in shorts similar to those of a 1980s tennis player. Olivia Williams and Jason Fleyming are also on top form as the entertaining hippie couple and Jessica Barden shines as their quick-witted daughter, Sophie. On the downside, the three main characters (all well acted but) lack a large amount of development. For example, it would have nicer to know slightly more about Blanchett and Bana's characters. 

Overall, Hanna is a thoroughly entertaining and well acted chase-thriller with atmospheric direction and stunning locations. Do not be fooled by the rather poor trailer, and give Hanna a chance.

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