Tuesday 30 August 2011

Today's Review: Hanna

When I first saw the cover of Hanna, I figured it was a foreign movie that was kind of like Leon. Don't ask me why, 'cause it's neither. Never judge a movie by its DVD case. In fact, Hanna is about a girl named Hanna, surprise surprise, played by Saoirse Ronan. She has been brought up in the wilds of Finland by her father, Erik (Eric Bana). She has been trained to fight, hunt, speak several languages and to generally be a complete bad ass. But, at the age of 16 she fianlly feels she is ready to go out into the brave world, or in this case, to fulfill the secret mission planned for her. So with the flip of a switch the story begins.

You see, there is a CIA agent named Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett) who is intent on finding them, but Erik's plan is for him and Hanna to find her first. This sparks a chase through several countries across Europe, with each party gaining the upper hand on each other at some point. While Hanna discovers the technological wonders of the world that she has been sheltered from, Weigler hires a few baddies, led by the menacing Isaacs (Tom Hollander) to ensure she is tracked down.

Hanna is a great movie. The characters are all so clear cut and distinct, from Blanchett's cold hearted and smooth professional to Hollander's unrelenting killer. Every actor throughout gives it their all, and there are moments where the scenes become quite Tarantino like in nature due to the characterisation, visual and dialogue at play.

The movie works on many levels. While I was completely taken along for the ride and loved every minute, upon watching the bonus features I discovered a whole new layer to Hanna that I hadn't noticed before. It's a great chase movie, but also manages to have some chilling and surreal settings, and while there is some comic relief, it comes in the form of a family that Hanna meets on her journey, and isn't wedged into the existing characters where it could so easily take the edge off their performances.

Visually Hanna is a great movie. There are great settings and set pieces, and some of the fight scenes are beautifully choreographed. On top of the visuals there is also a custom soundtrack throughout written by The Chemical Brothers, which effectively mixes in sound effects from the movie and provides the perfect musical accompaniment to the movie, especially the theme provided for Isaacs, which stuck in my head for several days after watching.

I'm surprised that Joe Wright, whose previous movies have been mainly dramas, has managed to pull out all the stops and deliver a great suspenseful action thriller movie. He clearly had some untapped potential, and you can tell that he poured a lot of love into Hanna. It's a great looking movie with an awesome soundtrack and memorable characters played flawlessly. What more could you want?

My rating: 5/5

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