Hanna (M)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner5/05/2011

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 111 mins

Pacey, excitingly directed mini-Bourne-style thriller with a strong script, superb action sequences, a great soundtrack and a terrific central performance from Saoirse Ronan.

What's it all about?
Directed by Joe Wright, Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan as Hanna, a 16-year-old girl who's been raised in a snowy wasteland and trained to be a kick-ass, multi-lingual super-agent by her ex-CIA father Erik (Eric Bana). Having spent her entire life seemingly preparing for a single mission, Hanna activates a homing beacon and is soon captured by Marissa (Cate Blanchett), the sinister CIA agent who killed her mother.

However, things don't quite go according to plan and Hanna soon escapes into the Moroccan desert, hiding out with a mouthy teen (Jessica Barden) and her clueless hippie parents (Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng) while she attempts to rendezvous with her father in Berlin. Meanwhile, Marissa sends a ruthless, tennis-shorts-wearing German agent Isaacs (Tom Hollander) after Hanna and he soon picks up her trail.

The Good
Saoirse Ronan plays the character perfectly, giving Hanna a blank-faced innocence that ensures she's simultaneously both achingly vulnerable and a coldly efficient killing machine. There's also terrific comic support from Jessica Barden (essentially reprising her character from Tamara Drewe), while Blanchett is suitably intense as Marissa and Hollander adds a chillingly off-beat note as Isaacs.

Wright's direction is extremely impressive throughout, maintaining a breathless sense of pace and using a range of attention-grabbing effects (jump-cuts, crash-zooms and the like) to ensure that each scene fizzes with energy, all of which is heightened considerably by a terrific, pounding soundtrack from the Chemical Brothers. Similarly, Wright proves a dab hand at orchestrating thrilling fight sequences, relying on sharp choreography and letting them play out in full view rather than resorting to the overly-edited, confusingly staged style that often ruins films like this.

The Great
On top of that, the efficient script strips out much of the expected backstory, dispensing with tedious exposition scenes and allowing the chase and action scenes to drive the plot. That said, there is a nagging feeling that the film has had some of its excesses toned down to achieve its 12A rating, most notably in the middle section where it seems like an entire sequence involving Hollander's character has been cut out (hint: keep an eye on his tennis whites).

Worth seeing
This is a hugely enjoyable, breathlessly paced and intriguingly offbeat chase thriller with engaging characters, a sharp script, exciting action sequences and terrific performances from a fine ensemble cast. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Hanna (M)
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Content updated: 23/10/2019 01:55

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