Movie Reviews

Review: Hanna (2011)

Joe Wright

Saoirse Ronan
Eric Bana
Cate Blanchett
Tom Hollander
Jason Flemyng
Olivia Williams

A teenager, raised by her father to be an assassin, is chased across Europe by a CIA agent and her operatives.

This movie seems to have just come out of nowhere. An action thriller directed by Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) with stars like Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, one would think this would have had more hype. Thankfully, the talent involved does not disappoint.

Hanna is an exciting thrill ride that delivers on action and is visually stunning. Coming from Wright, I would not have ever expected such a high-octane film, but he has most certainly stepped up his game and delivers something new and fun. However, the film’s only real downfall is when Wright returns to his most natural form, when it clearly does not fit with the rest of the runtime. A side story involving Hanna travelling with a family of hippies (led by Olivia Williams and the always great Jason Flemyng) brings the film nearly to a full stop. The story is there to give us more insight on Hanna entering this new world she has never seen before, but it does not hit the right emotional notes and offers nearly no character development either way.

Personally, I felt that the film’s strong point was Eric Bana’s character. While there is not enough focus on him, he is electric when he is on screen. If Hanna needed more character development on anyone, it was Bana. Being a notoriously underused and impressive actor, he was wasted in this film. While he is given easily the best scenes in the film, there are too few of them. One in particular features a 4 to 5 minute long single-shot scene that follows Bana from a bus station into a parking garage while being followed by a group of henchmen, then he proceeds to take them out. The impressive camera work, fantastic music by the Chemical Brothers, and the visceral action in this scene are truly worth the ticket price alone.

Another notable piece of the film is Tom Hollander, who has previously worked with Wright in Pride & Prejudice. He is another actor who consistently seems to be underused (other than his scene-stealing performance in 2009’s In the Loop), and still is here, although he certainly makes the most of it. His character is delightfully strange and seems to whistle a song from the film’s score each time he is on screen.

Overall, the film is a very well made action flick that also succeeds visually. The cast is in good form here and the story delivers except for a very slow storyline in the mid section of the film. While this is definitely not for everyone, it is a different kind of action movie.

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language.

Runtime: 111 minutes

Grade: B

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