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2011-05-30 13:24
What it’s about:

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a wild child who lives a secluded life with her father (Eric Bana) in the arctic forests of Finland. But, she is no ordinary girl – her father an ex-CIA – man has trained her to be the perfect assassin. Her extraordinary intelligence and lethal physicality is put to the ultimate test when she must fulfil her destiny of assassinating her father’s greatest enemy Marissa (Cate Blanchett).

What we thought:

Hanna grabs the viewer from the outset, beguiles you with its near perfect styling and shots, yet leaves you wondering whether it was all much ado about nothing.The film, despite its bland title is certainly not boring, but the merit visible in terms of its neat execution struggles to catch up with its ambition.

The film’s most obvious plus point is a strong performance by young actress Saoirse Ronan as Hanna. She possesses the kind of magnetism that commands attention whenever her icy blue eyes and translucent complexion fills the screen. Her performance as the dreamily detached, effective, yet endearing killer is practically without fault.

Similarly, director Joe Wright delivers some fantastic moments through his distinctively fluid, at times surreal style. The opening sequence which sees the audience introduced to Hanna as she stalks an elk through the pure white snowscape is wonderfully mesmeric. And so is much of Hanna’s journey as we follow her from this isolated world into the unforgiving and confusing reality of the outside.

As Hanna is thrust into the unknown, details and questions arise regarding her and her father’s identity. The mystery is titillating – but not riveting. In fact, the many mysteries surrounding the characters becomes increasingly unimportant as the visual nature of the film is able to hold the audiences’ attention surprisingly well without it. A music-video like sequence that showcases our heroes' escape from secret CIA detainment sees Hanna running through tunnels and lairs, strobe light flashing – exterminating anyone in her way with impeccable efficiency. One barely gives a thought to where she might be going. The Chemical Brothers original score further fuels the MTV feel and adds to the excitement, regardless of plot.

The subtext of the story quite obviously draws on a Grimm brother fairytale motif. Hanna is the child from the forest, who is hunted by the wicked witch who will stop at nothing. Enter Cate Blanchett as CIA chief Marissa Wiegler, an excruciatingly polished villain who clearly has unfinished business with Hanna’s father and subsequently Hanna herself. Blanchett is surprisingly scary as the callous agent, and her bizarre henchmen who also try to take Hanna down are equally creepy.

The film here turns into a wild goose chase with Hanna desperately trying to reunite with her father while being pursued by the 'witch'. The scenes where Hanna’s obvious strangeness and remarkable killing-machine abilities are on show are decidedly arresting – but the film as a whole struggles to find a foothold and many scenes seem awkwardly overdone and kind of muddled. Nevertheless, Hanna is a refined piece of work with a fine cast and a 'killer' soundtrack.

The fairytale might seem familiar, but satisfyingly so.

A refined film with a fine cast and a ‘killer’ soundtrack - the fairy tale might seem familiar, but satisfyingly so.
Read more on:    cate blanchett  |  saoirse ronan  |  review  |  movies

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