Film Review – Hanna

Hanna (M)

Directed by: Joe Wright

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana

Four and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

You remember how hard it was being a teenager. Overbearingly strict parents, silly household rules and hormones racing. It is that rough period of self discovery we all have to deal with. Such is Hanna’s dilemma. Except this teen, who has a lethal streak, doesn’t post whiny Facebook statuses about her tough teenage life. She is not like other girls.

Wave goodbye to pouty teen flick pin-up girl Molly Ringwald and say hello to Saoirse Ronan as ass kicking, killing machine Hanna. Sure her journey includes discovering boys for the first time and the joys of a BFF like our favourite 80s red-head – but it also includes a few broken necks and dead bodies.

Raised as an assassin in a remote part of Northern Finland by her ex-CIA agent father Erik (Eric Bana), 16-year-old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is fluent in several languages, knows how to hunt and gut animals, and defend herself with mighty strength. She is focused and unflinching. Having been cut off from the world most teenage girls are used too, Hanna doesn’t even know what electricity is – but she is ready to fly the coup.

Erik is hesitant at first and warns her that once she leaves their secluded home, she would always be on the run from mysterious enemy agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett). Hanna insists she is ready and at the flick of a switch (literally) Hanna is scooped up by a fleet of soldiers and taken to a high security compound underground in Morocco.

Hanna escapes and begins her trek to Berlin where she must meet up with her father. When she hitches a ride with a hippy family on vacation she must suppress her true identity while at he same time making some discoveries about herself and facing a few shocking revelations.

Hanna learns about friendship, boys, family and encounters music and the internet for the first time. It is all a bit much for one person to be confronted with in such a short period of time. Not only that, she is constantly being hunted. As Hanna adapts to the world, her instincts often make amusing cameos such as when she reacts to her first kiss with a swift blow to the unsuspecting boys’ face.

The familiar coming of age story is given the action treatment with echoes of The Bourne Identity but it is a thrilling and original mash-up. It may mostly be a case of style over substance but the snappy script feeds us information at just the right time to keep us intrigued and the exciting action sequences keep us on the edge of our seat.

One of the most surprising things about this film is the humour that alleviates the bone crunching violence. There are some hilarious moments but they do not derail the tension of this tautly directed action/thriller. Give Molly and her teen angst a rest for a bit and go on the violent ride of self discovery with Hanna.

 

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