Viewed – 03 September 2011 Blu-ray
At a passing glance, this movie seemed like nothing particularly new. A young girl, trained from a young age by her father to be a lethal killing machine. It’s been done before. Then you sit down to watch it, and it turns out to be something more, something different. Usually when preconceptions take you into a movie with one mind, but you leave with another – it can be jarring, it can be a disappointment. This was anything but.
Brit director Joe (Atonement) Wright’s movie stars talented child-star Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) as Hanna a girl who has been kept isolated from society by her ex-C.I.A. father who has brought her up in the wintry Finland woods, and eventually allows her to leave, but with the warning that those he has been protecting her from, will come after both him and her, and she will have to defend herself. That’s why he has trained her to be one helluva badass. So begins Hanna’s journey of self discovery, as she escapes from a top-secret facility, befriends a travelling family, and discovers not just the outside world, but also her own origins.
Cate Blanchet is excellent as the villainous CIA agent out to capture Hanna, and Eric Banna is fine as Hanna’s father, and impresses in the more action-heavy scenes like a superb one take fight in a subway … but otherwise is a bit bland. Saoirse Ronan, clearly one of the best young actresses around, carries the movie brilliantly, even impressing when she has to kick-ass – no small feat when you consider her age. Accompanying all this is a very effective score by dance guru’s The Chemical Brothers in their feature debut, enhancing many a scene with their block-rockin-beats and skillful themes. Joe Wright has crafted a very unique and imaginitive movie, part gritty thriller, part fairy tale with a wealth of strange and quirky locations that gives the movie its own identity. I was a little confused by Blanchet’s motives, despite certain revelations towards the end – something just didn’t ring true for me. It’s also a trifle slow in parts, such as lingering a touch too long on Hanna’s friendship with a girl. But these are small gripes in what is otherwise one of the more interesting and satisfying movies of the year.
Verdict: 4 /5