Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist), Hanna tells the story of a 16-year-old girl, played by the porcelain-skinned Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones). From the opening hunting scene in the icy wilderness of Finland, it is clear that she is no ordinary teenager. With extensive training from her father Erik (Eric Bana), Hanna has become incredibly proficient with guns and hand-to-hand combat.
Living an isolated life away from technology and other people, Hanna one day tells her father that she is finally “ready”. With that she flips a switch that alerts the CIA to her location and is quickly captured by them. The idea being that this will allow her to get close enough to Officer Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) to assassinate her. Everything doesn’t go quite to plan and she soon has to escape from the facility. Not before taking out scores of armed men in a variety of bone-crunching ways first though.
Hanna is consequentially chased across Africa and Europe, as she learns more about her mysterious past. Along the way, she befriends a couple of teenagers, but the relationships prove to be short-lived as her pursuers draw closer.
We also catch up with her father, who has his own problems to deal with, culminating with a stand-out action sequence. If that was Eric Bana’s apology for The Hulk, then all is forgiven (but not quite forgotten).
Saoirse Ronan is very believable as a capable assassin, and the fast-paced combat (set against a thumping, techno Chemical Brothers soundtrack) wouldn’t feel out of place in a Bourne Identity film. I must however confess to finding Cate Blanchett’s southern accent a bit off-putting, and it wouldn’t have sounded out of place in Little Britain USA. That aside, she was suitably creepy as the government’s gun toting child-catcher.
Hanna is a well paced action-thriler that grabs your attention from the opening frame and doesn’t let up until the closing credits. Saoirse Ronan has a very promising career ahead of her on the back of Hanna and is definitely one to watch.
The DVD extras include a curiously more satisfying alternate ending, deleted scenes, an interesting Anatomy of a scene, and feature commentary with Director Joe Wright.
Review by: Mark O'Connell
Date: 29th August 2011
Rating out of 5: