July 13, 2011

Hanna - Review

Joe Wright probably isn’t the first director you’d think of when assigning an action thriller, but I would say Hanna still did a great job in contributing to the genre, and Wright proves himself at being quite skilled in handling the requirements of being an action director; while there are several scenes of frantic running or fighting – most brilliantly a single-take showdown between Erik Heller (Eric Bana) and a gang of goons in a Berlin underground train station – Wright reigns in the regard to character, making us care about the bond Hanna develops with a group of road travelers.

Saorsie Ronan fills the roll of Hanna, the precocious titular child who is raised in a quasi-feral fashion by her father (Erik), before she is forced to go on the run when the authorities, led by Cate Blanchett’s no-nonsense CIA agent Marissa Wengler, get wind of her existence.

The quirks – specifically the humour as embodied by Wengler’s kooky hit-squad – give the film an unmistakably European air, which might bemuse some audiences, but ultimately it helps distinguish the film from the numerous works of similar ilk. While it might seem more serious and heady than other works of the genre, this is offset by the comedy and the well-peppered slices of action throughout. Lead Actress, Ronan, is especially impressive here; her casting and the age of her character is still somehow believable despite how eager the premise sounds to follow in the footsteps of Luc Besson’s best-loved manic action masterpiece (Leon: The Professional).

Wright adequately acquits himself in melding an art house tone with a more mainstream aesthetic and sensibility. Blanchett is brilliant as the smarmy, determined agent, donning an intentionally over-the-top American accent. But Saoirse Ronan is the shining star and will definitely never be out of work after this amazing performance.

It's a simple plot, but I loved it, I was captivated by the opposing forces of business versus pleasure in Hanna's life. Sure, she's got enough physical strength and fighting skills to obliterate half the CIA--but she also likes to put on sparkly eyeshadow, hold hands with Eurotrash boys, and watch flamenco performances by the light of a garbage can fire. Adolescence can be so confusing--imagine having to do it while claiming vengeance on the evil scourge who ruined your family.

The cinematography was fantastic (shot by Alwin H. Kuchler) and the soundtrack from the Chemical Brothers was eclectic and very fitting. Overall, I highly recommend it. Go see it!

1 comment:

Jonah Sidhom said...

Nice review, I want to see it now.