Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Joe Wright's kinetic, artsy-minded, techno-thriller Hanna is so many things we've already seen but something all its own, all at once.  Take aspects of The Bourne Identity, Leon, Kick-Ass, Run Lola Run and then filter it through the prism of a Grimm's Fairy Tale and you almost get an approximation of this strange, bewildering, entirely engrossing genre entry from Wright, who takes a major leap as a director of action after a mostly subtle and classical start to his directing career (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and The Soloist are his other credits).  The plot is best not to be poured over too closely as there are definitely some plot holes and questions of logic (not to mention geography) but never mind -- the film is a rush of motion, color, texture, violence, and pulsating sound (the electric score is by The Chemical Brothers) and it never really rests for a moment, even when in the second act the plot seems to come to an abrupt change of pace.  Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones, Atonement, The Way Back) is positively stellar as the titular heroine, a 15 year old girl raised by her ex-CIA agent father (a customarily intense Eric Bana) to be a ruthless killer.  Shielded all her life from the outside world, Hanna knows how to run, shoot, chop, and kill her way to safety.  Enter the icy, dangerous Marissa (the always perfect Cate Blanchett), a government operative with a thing for silencers, razor-sharp red haircuts, and electronic toothbrushes (this movie has tons of quirks which always keeps it interesting).  Marissa will stop at nothing to find Hanna -- but why?  If the ultimate answer doesn't turn out to be as amazing as you might expect, that doesn't mean you aren't going to be satisfied with this wild, twisty, and sometimes twisted little modern fairy tale.  Wright directs with extreme confidence, utilizing an attention grabbing blend of cinematography and editing techniques.  There's an interesting mix of rough, hand-held camerawork coupled with jagged editing patterns, that somehow fits perfectly with Wright's traditional fluid shooting style (a six or seven minute long steadicam fight sequence with Bana taking on a group of assassins is the movie's obvious tour de force of technical virtuosity).  Movies like Hanna have been done before but never quite like this.  It's the most fun I've had at the movies so far this year.

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