The premise for Hanna at first sight, seems stupendously ridiculous. If you’ve all seen the trailers, your mind will rush to the genre template… a high-octane thriller involving guns, shoot-outs and the man against the system, trust no-one… except the protagonist is a sweet teenage girl…. whaaaaa?!
This must’ve put a lot of fans of the genre off; it’s as though Joe Wright made a list of everything that the formaliac genre provides and did the express opposite. And that’s not so bad, eh?
Just from a glance round the cinema, the audience were all well over middle-age, which is quite an interesting indicator, and not to be sweeping, I doubt a young, drunk, hepped-up thrill-rider audience would sit for the very bleak, austere opening act, which shows the young Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) being trained up by her Father (Eric Bana), shooting a dear with a bow and arrow in the remote German mountains. Long languid scenes follow, and it’s not until the introduction of the threat that the story kicks off which the shady U.S. agent played by Cate Blanchette, complete with fright-wig and southern drawl; Since Crystal Skull, you get a real sense that Blanchette has to fear in chewing up the scenery with her performances, she’ll practically stumble through a scene with no concept of subtly and the audience loves it, I think she will soon circumvent herself from serious gritty actress to grand dame of cinema; lets hope she does some goofy screwball comedy next, has she? Letters on a postcard please….
Hanna is on the run from Blanchette in this film, shady F.B.I. types and this young girl has a lot of special gifts, she’s talented at defense and guns and all that stuff, but escaping the clutches of her pursuers, a great deal of the film is taken up with the teenager adapting to what her normal life would have been, and it goes a bit road-movie in the middle, against a morrocan holiday back-drop, she ingratiates herself with a new-age middle-class hippy family, the Mother played hilariously by Anna Chancellor, the housewifes favourite for that type of role.
I’ve saved the best mentions in terms of perfromance till last, Tom Hollander, star of In The Loop and BBC2’s Rev, gives a startingly evil performance as a German interrigator employed by Blanchette, unrecognizable from his comedy performances. But the star that out-acts everyone with ease, grace and brilliance is Saoirse Ronan; famous for Atonement (Wright’s previous film) and The Lovely Bones… does not faulter at any point, her accent impeccible, she even by-passes some of the crasser humour from the less than subtle script with an honest performance that I hope opens up some doors for her to hold a film on her name alone.
Although, a bit like Eric Bana’s dodgy accent, Wright’s direction is European in sensibility the U.S. involvement is screaming for attention, and I bet Wright was pulling his hair, eyes and teeth out as the money men stuck their fat fingers in the pie… but he gets away with more than I thought he would be allowed, save some cheesy moments, but thrillers keep you hooked.
And… FINALLY, I think movie producers have noted a trick after the succes of Tron Legacy must of been on its film soundtrack alone, Hanna’s score by The Chemical Brothers just sings it home and with the zero expectation most people will have from the trailer, it was thoroughly enjoyable.