If you want a well executed, espionage thriller filled with refreshing surprises I highly recommend you go see Hanna.Saoirse Ronan (of The Lovely Bones fame) is so captivating as the sixteen year old teenage assassin. From her training by her father and ex-CIA agent, played by Eric Bana, in the wilds of Finland to her enlightening journey across Europe, she puts in a totally convincing performance.
She's relentlessly pursued by Cate Blanchett's determined intelligence agency operative, who plays the role with sinister relish, who obviously knows more about Hanna's origins than she lets on in the movie. Hanna was the result of an experiment in genetic engineering to produce super-soldiers who were stronger and felt fear less.
What's great about the movie is that it feels quite believable and grounded in reality, from the British family that Hanna befriends (who provide some wonderful comic moments), to the European locations and even the fighting style, which is much less kung fu action and more gritty and close contact. You actually believe this is how a sixteen year old girl assassin would fight and it never feels gratuitous.
One of my favourite scenes in the movie is Hanna's escape from the holding facility, which is filmed brilliantly with such visual excitement, and also has a complementary soundtrack to match the action.
As the story unfolds, it's equally interesting and frustrating to see how she's been trained to survive and infiltrate the world, and yet simple things like electricity and music amaze her.
Another favourite line from the movie is delivered so wonderfully by Saoirse Ronan when asked how her mother died. I won't spoil it here, but it had the cinema audience laughing out loud.
Saoirse Ronan's Hanna holding facility costume on display
Even though it has a simple premise, the movie has just the right amount of action and intrigue, plus it is wonderfully filmed and executed to deserve a four **** star rating.
Saoirse Ronan really is building up a fantastic repertoire of roles in her career and I look forward to seeing what she does next. I hope Hanna is successful enough to garner a sequel as there are enough mysteries remaining and the potential of seeing the character find her way in the world is just too tantalizing to resist.
Be sure to check out these original film costumes worn by Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana and Saoirse Ronan in Hanna.
Let's have more movies like this in 2011 please...