Genre: Action, Thriller, Mystery
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana
Director: Joe Wright
Welcome to one of possibly the only mini reviews i'll write. Why mini you ask? Cos i'm on a motherfuckin' plane! No snakes though. Just grumpy turks. Probably for the best... And so even on my voyages abroad I cant help but be tantalised by this flick on the flight menu - you can take the reviewer away from his pc but you can't the...euhm, I guess I didn't think that one through, but you get the idea - that I have intended to watch for a long time but never got the chance. You see, this ain't our standard popcorn action flick or predictable thriller (ok, its a little predictable) but a tale of a young girl and her voyages into the world of assassins.
But before you get all 'leon' on me, hanna ain't quite done that way around. This isn't a girl entering the world of assassins as much as it is an assassin told to go play in the world once hidden from her. Wanted dead as a baby, she was rescued at the last minute by bond-a-like secret agent to be trained in the harsh winter wilderness to survive the onslaught of those who will do anything in their power to kill both her and her father. For absolutely no reason whatsoever. Zip. Nada. I mean, some vague hogwash reason at the end emerges but really all it does is make me wonder if they didn't try anything whether she wouldnt just grow up as a normal girl. I'm skirting around spoilers now so i'll stop, but suffice to say there are more than a couple of plot holes in this tale, and i'm not just referring to the ability to shoot a moose and rip out its intestines without spilling any blood, or the telekinetic arrow shooting that occurs towards the end. There are points that admittedly might have an explanation in the story somewhere which I missed, but it's all done in such a way as to never readily permit the viewer to know the explanation.
But i'm all for ignoring plot holes, and it's interesting how the rest of the film actually held up. Indeed, I remember it being billed largely as an action flick with some thriller elements tossed in. It seems odd then to say that this alone would have made for a pretty mediocre and uninteresting film. Instead it is Hanna herself that takes the main focus, the acting - and the abilities of our fresh-faced young starlet does surprisingly well at holding up her, rather significant, end of the film - combined with the direction capable of showing a character that is more than just a mindless machine but a young girl, and the humour in taking an assassin shielded from the world and slapping her in the middle of nowhere is not lost on the director.
There is a dramatic element as we come to not necessarily understand or empathise, but simply care for the well being of this young girl faced with an impossible situation. There are snippets of conversation about how shes never heard music or had a friend, drilling home what shes been forced to become as we try to get into her mindset. This is where the films finds its strength and where it finds itself standing out from the crowd. Even at 2 hours it never feels long, and could have easily benefitted from an extended run time, extending the action and further explaining the nuances of the plot. It's just a shame it never quite feels like everything it could have been.