A wonderfully curious, bold and original film
What a wonderfully curious and beguiling film this is. Hanna is the story of the eponymous 16 year-old (Saoirse Ronan), trained in the arts of combat and survival in the remote wilds of Finland by her ex-CIA father (Eric Bana). Desperate to see the world, she unexpectedly gets her chance when her father’s former bosses close in on them, capturing Hanna and taking her to a maximum security facility where she’s to be interrogated by Cate Blanchett’s ruthless suit.
With our heroine promptly escaping, Hanna mutates into a chase movie, as rogue operatives (led by Tom Hollander, in a bizarre turn as a fey German assassin) pursue their target. But The Bourne Identity for teenagers, this is not. Yes, there are action scenes – and director Joe Wright (who ‘discovered’ Ronan on Atonement) handles them well enough. But really this is a coming-of-age story, and one of the strangest you’re ever likely to see.
Using a holidaying hippie Brit family (led by Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng) as cover, Hanna befriends their daughter Sophie (Tamara Drewe’s Jessica Barden) and briefly comes to realise what it means to be a normal teenager. She experiences her first kiss, only to wrap the unsuspecting lad up in knots when the impending human contact begins to scare her.
What delights about Hanna is its frequent ability to surprise, from the itchy Chemical Brothers score to the surreal fairytale quality that Wright invests in certain scenes (not least the bizarre ending in a Berlin amusement park). Some of it doesn’t work, such as Blanchett’s rather unconvincing casting. But led by the fantastic Ronan, who just seems to be getting better with every film, Hanna is a bold and original.
General release from Fri 6 May.