Academy award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones) stars as Hanna, a kick ass cutie raised to be the perfect assassin. Trained by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA agent, Hanna is sent out into the world on a perilous mission. Along the way she is tracked by ruthless intelligence operatives and madcap European hit men, but the ultimate target is closing in and startling revelations are about to turn her world upside down.
Hanna is an action thriller with a welcome Indie vibe. Ronan makes for the perfect lead; a subtle blend of sweetness, light and steely-eyed menace. Much like his own lead character, Wright goes straight for the jugular, introducing his characters with blunt force efficiency. The second act sags as Hanna embarks on a journey of self-discovery. She hooks up with an English couple and their children, befriending the daughter (Jessica Barden) and learning some valuable life lessons along the way.
The middle portion is played mostly for laughs; witness the scene where Hanna flirts with her first kiss, and yet something about the second act doesn’t quite sit right. Cate Blanchett pops up every now and again to remind us that there is a back-story to be played out, and Tom Hollander makes an appearance as an ineffective bleach-blonde hit man. It’s a mishmash of ideas, some hit their target and some stray off course, but Wright sure knows how to paint a pretty picture.
You can ignore the comparisons to Leon because Wright’s latest shares more in common with Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and Sofia Coppola on a good day. With films like Atonement and Pride and Prejudice to his name - visually compelling pieces with an art house flavour - it’s hardly surprising that Hanna is one of the most surreal action thrillers of recent times. There’s a dreamlike quality running through its veins, and even the action sequences are doused in elegance and grace - like a night at the ballet with added firepower. With a top British cast and an old school Euro flavour, Hanna feels fresh in a world overrun by Bourne wannabes and Ethan Hunt sequels. Throw a Grimm fairytale vibe into the mix (think gingerbread houses, big bad wolves and an abandoned theme park) and you have one of the most compelling action movies of the last ten years. A second instalment couldn’t come soon enough. AW