Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng
Synopsis: Hanna (Ronan) has been raised in the wilderness by her father Erik (Bana) to be the perfect weapon. Her mission, when she is ready, is to kill the mysterious Marisa Viegler (Blanchett) of the CIA. There are many things that Hanna does not learn from her father, such as some of the joys of modern civilisation, and, more sinisterly, the truth of her own past.
This is another of the films I expressed interest in when I posted about films I was anticipating at the beginning of this year. In the end it only got a limited release in Australia, perhaps due to be an action film that has art house overtones. There is a lot to recommend this film. The action scenes are frenetic and exciting, there are some interesting characters, and yet despite how well the film is set up, it somehow does not all pull together at the end to make a cohesive whole.
Ronan does a great job in this film, having been building an impressive CV to date, which includes previously working with director Joe Wright on Atonement. They clearly have achieved a rapport working together that comes through in this film. Hanna dominates the screen time of this film, so the actress playing her had to be convincing and watchable. Ronan manages both of these successfully. She is as adept at being a heartless killer, as she is at looking at the new modern world with a mixture of wonder and fear.
The fact that when she is released she makes friends with a family on holiday helps also to show the more human side of the character. There are times these moments threaten to change the tone of the film, making it perhaps more clichéd, the film does manage to turn these moments around into something somewhat unexpected. This story thread though is one I feel was left incomplete, as this family, headed by the characters played by Flemyng and Williams, is left abruptly and never heard from again for the rest of the film.
Providing the most prominent adult roles, both Bana and Blanchett are on their usual superior form. Bana appears less than expected, however he does well with the material given to him. Blanchett is powerful as ever, though her American accent jarred with me, and I feel served no purpose to the plot. She could just as easily have used her tried and true English accent and played an MI5 agent, and the plot would have been served just as well. Aside from this though, she is convincing in her role that is at stages maternal, but more often quite threatening.
I quite enjoyed this film for the most part, and it has the benefit of feeling fresh and being an original story, an element that is lacking in a lot of modern cinema. The ending is handled poorly though, and in reflection there are more than just a few loose threads that are not taken care of, to the damage of the rest of the film.
3 stars out of 5