Thursday, 5 May 2011
It's not often that I go into a movie and I am surprised. Hanna is one of them films. You go in expecting one thing and you get something much, much more.
Deep in an isolated snowy forest lives Hanna, a young girl who has been brought up by Erik, her father, an ex-CIA agent, who has taught her everything she knows about the world but never experienced it. That is all she really wants, to be allowed out into a world that, to her, is just a fantasy, something that is read from a book. The other thing that Erik has taught her is how to be a killing machine, defending herself with gun, arrow, knife and unarmed. Allowing her wish, Erik lets Hanna go into the world but they are to meet in Berlin. He disappears into the night and she is captured and taken to a hidden bunker by ruthless Intelligence agent Marissa. While in captivity, Hanna discovers a family secret and as she escapes from the compound, she gets to see the world she has missed while running for her life.
A word of warning, If you are going in expecting an all-action thriller, you are going to be bitterly disappointed. this is far better. It is a multi-layed chase film that is reminiscent of the old 70s espionage thrillers like The Eiger Sanction with The Fugitive thrown in.
It's a surprise, first off that the director, Joe Wright, is more known for intelligent dramas like Pride and Prejudice, Atonement and The Soloist. Like Kenneth Braghan last week with Thor, you don't expect a director of Wright's calibre to be handed this but he does an excellent job. He keeps the pace moving swiftly along while still keeping you on the edge of your seat wondering what's going to happen next.
The sound is incredibly loud which works well. you jump at almost everything and so if you do decide to see this gem, and you should, go and see it in a decent cinema with decent sound. It also has the coolest soundtrack around, with The Chemical Brothers delivering a thumping score that helps push along the cracking set pieces.
Then there are the performances. Eric Bana, donning a sometimes dodgy accent, is still very good as Erik while Cate Blanchett is as good as always as Marissa. Some solid support too from Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng as a couple of earth people who Hanna hitches a ride with, and Tom Hollander is amusing as a camp psychotic hired to track Hanna down. The film, however, is held together by a brilliant performance from Saoirse Ronan in the title role. Innocence seeing a world she never knew while at the same time the most dangerous thing to hit the screen, Ronan is just magnificent and she manages to act everyone off the screen.
A beautifully shot film that looks more arthouse than mainstream, it also has some very funny moments too that will have you laughing out loud. Hanna has so much to offer, far more than most other movies and even if you don't like action thrillers, you will come out surprised at what it has to offer. A cracking, first-rate film that deserves huge amounts of attention.