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Genre Thriller

Hanna would be just like every other hitman movie out there... if it weren't for its 16-year-old girl assassin and Pride and Prejudice director.

Saoirse Ronan is possibly Hollywood's hottest starlet, racking up an impressive filmography ranging from roles in Atonement and The Lovely Bones to Hanna. She embodies a rare quality, much like Jodie Foster did when she starred opposite Robert De Niro as a teen prostitute in Taxi Driver. A gritty innocence befalls Saoirse, whose mystical name could be lifted from the pages of The Lord of the Rings.

Hanna is reminiscent of hitman movies like The Professional where a young Natalie Portman made her mark in Luc Besson's acclaimed film about Leon, played to perfection in a career best performance by Jean Reno. In many ways, Hanna has been inspired by The Professional, combining the hitman theme with the innocence of a witness to the murder of a family. Jodie Foster's role in Nell also echoes as our protagonist comes into contact with society and technology after being raised in a Siberian forest without much contact with the real world.

The novelty of this premise of creating a character much like Hitgirl from the movie, Kick-Ass, is what propels Hanna. It's a road trip story of sorts as Hanna comes into contact with a range of characters from hippie holiday-makers to cut-throat killers. There's also an undercurrent of comedy much like Shoot 'Em Up, which remains untapped as a young girl seeks revenge on her mother's killer.

Joe Wright (Atonement) knows how to please the eye from an aesthetic vantage point. Hanna lives up to this promise as photographic beauty cascades from one scene to the next with a manicured atmosphere. Wright composes a beautiful film, which counterbalances the action and modern soundtrack - like Terrence Malick meets Guy Ritchie as artistic sets and fight choreography reverberate a soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers.

The addition of such quality actors as Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett heighten the level of performance as this fish-out-of-water thriller builds to a crescendo. Bana is understated and solid as usual and Blanchett gives the main antagonist a zeal for perfection in a role that could very well be Hanna 20 years later...

The direction, performances, style and premise offer so much promise that it's a bit disappointing when all the ingredients don't add up. The story is like a Kill Bil: Junior as our assassin gets her first taste of revenge, using kills and locations to rack up a semblance of story. The title character is also very reflective, absorbing a sense of gravity from her interactions and surroundings - making it difficult to connect.

This keeps the audience slightly detached, hovering on the outside of the bulletproof looking glass. Hanna's journey is taken at an arm's length and becomes a spectacle, rather than a compelling story. The distancing also forces the audience to grab at the story, which struggles to harness any emotional depth. Having several cold, calculated characters share the lead is always going to be trying... no matter how cute or warm the traveling sideshow family distraction.

The bottom line: Beautiful.

6.00/10 ( 1 Vote )
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