Dinah's Rating: 9/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 8.6/10
(5 reviews total)
Hanna is a 1 hour and 51 minute thrill ride featuring adept acting, fast pacing, and a pitch-perfect film score to back it up. Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a special teenager with extraordinary strength, stamina and intelligence thanks to her father Erik Heller (Eric Bana), who raised her to be the ultimate assassin. He sends his daughter on a mission for the first time to kill a ruthless intelligence operative Marissa Viegler (Cate Blanchett) but has to go run across Europe. Alone, Hanna starts to explore her own existence and humanity.
She does so with bows, arrows, guns, and some mighty strong muscles for a 16-year-old if I do say so myself. Ronan plays her part as the one part naïve and one part ferocious Hanna with a sedate confidence and calm. Her tiny blue eyes seem to look past to another world as she learns to bask in the sun and enjoy freedom and friendship amidst her pursuit for her nemesis. The Marissa Viegler character is a callous, prim, agent with a shady sidekick Isaacs (Tom Holander). Both Holander and Blanchett could have gone over-the-top in their portrayals, diminishing the value and tension of their placement. However, both actors are skilled, toning down the craziness just enough.
In fact the characters are all well-written, including a surprising second act introduction of Jessica Barden as Sophie, a young girl traveling in Morocco with her family. Quick witted, precocious and sassy, the young actress scene steals for much of the film until her need runs up. She enjoys a good bit of screen time, as does Bana. He is mainly engaged in fights, and it seems the actor doesn’t need a stunt double to pull off some wonderful action scenes. In one instance he is in combat with several thugs in an underground station. He engages them all as the camera circles him madly, catching every kick, punch, and stab.
And all of this is to the drumbeat of an electric score by the Chemical Brothers. A personal favorite is a carnival like tune whistled by Isaacs whilst in a freight yard. It is not to be outdone by the ditty playing in the original trailer, which recurs throughout the back half of the story. The themes are reminiscent of those in The Social Network and Tron: Legacy. All of it simply proves Joe Wright has a great imagination and broad range of talent when he creates. He put a great product together. The editing and camerawork mirror the rhythms of the music, turning what could have been bland into something more tense and exciting.
Hanna only loses points for not going into greater detail on the main character’s origin. Also, her change in character at the end was pretty base for a movie that aspired to have greater intellect than the average thriller. What is a typical storyline is amplified by wonderful characterizations, reined-in performances, edgy camerawork and a thunderous score.
Directed by Joe Wright
Written by Seth Lochhead, David Carr
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett
Other Player Affinity Reviews
Julian thought: "Director Joe Wright is perhaps best associated with period pieces. With his new film Hanna, however, he’s shifted gears completely, opting to take on the tricky action genre. Saoirse Ronan makes for quite the assassin, though it doesn’t quite match up to her work in Peter Jackson’s messy adaptation of The Lovely Bones. As the antagonist Marissa, Cate Blanchett nails her role, reacting brilliantly to all of the shocking proceedings in the film and never stepping out of her character’s psyche. Bana does just fine as the father, though he has very little scenery to chew. Since it’s an action film, Hanna definitely needs to deliver on the action, and it fulfills that mission wonderfully. The film experiments with various shots and camera movements for an overall amazing result, and the score written by the Chemical Brothers heightens the frenzied mood as well. There are some mild issues in regards to pacing and some details could have been expounded upon more with an additional few minutes. Nonetheless, it’s a terrific action film and a great film overall." Rating: 8/10
Kieran thought: "Once upon a time there was a very special girl who lived in the woods with her father, and she kicked ass! Despite having some initial reservations that the story idea behind Hanna
sounding like Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass
I ended up loving this action film. Hanna
gets everything right, focusing on a strong plot, great characterisation, really excellent action (using stunt work and few quick cuts) and a pumping score by the Chemical Brothers. Wright also made sure Hanna
has a heart and a number of themes: identity, nature vs. nurture, someone discovering their humanity and how someone who lived an isolated existence would deal with technology and society. It is Wright’s best film so far. Saiorse Ronan is fantastic as the teenage assassin who is tough against Special Forces and CIA officers, but clueless when she has to deal with people and yearns for more. Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett are also great in this film that will feature highly as one of my favorite films of 2011." Rating: 10/10
Steven thought: "A pure cat-and-mouse thriller with a bit more heart than usual, Hanna
definitely goes above and more arguably beyond great action material. If any doubts existed as to whether the director of Pride and Prejudice could pull off stylized action, they are quickly put to rest in. Although Wright does continue his trademark of slowing down the pace on occasion to ogle the scenery including pans around characters, he psychs you up for the action sequences. Due credit to the phenomenal Chemical Brothers score for doing the same. The music simply electrifies the action sequences in a way few electronic film scores do in this genre.
Other than music, the depth of character sets Hanna apart from similar chase flicks. Ronan, whose acting ceiling lies in the unfathomable distance, fits her role perfectly from the outside in. She possesses the pale-faced naïveté of a young girl with piercing blue eyes that switch almost instantly to unsympathetic killer. Inside she gives Hanna everything from calculated emotion to raw longing: a very complete profile of a girl who has been raised the way she has. Other than some questionable methods of moving the plot along, Hanna thrills and in more than just popcorn-munching fashion." Rating: 8/10
Max thought: "For lack of a better description, the best way I could describe Hanna is a fairy tale wrapped in the cloak of an espionage revenge thriller. Saoirse Ronan continues to be one of the best young actresses of her generation, consistently turning in strong roles even if the films themselves are a little shaky (looking at you, The Lovely Bones). Regardless, this is Ronan’s show—Bana and Blanchett do very well with what they are given, but they’re never given enough to really make waves. Thankfully, Ronan is not the only good thing about Hanna. It’s got great style from the very visual mind of Wright, a score from the Chemical Brothers that you cannot imagine the film without, editing that disorients you without confusing you and crisp (great sounding) action sequences that feel grounded enough to not make you roll your eyes but are just enough to put a smile on your face." Rating: 8/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 8.6/10