Sunday, 8 May 2011

Hanna

****
The precocious talent that is Saoirse (pronounced Sersha) Ronan plays the eponymous heroine. Hanna is a lean, teen killing machine trained secretly from birth in the wilds of Finland by her rogue CIA-op father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana). Now the Bureau wants her and the hunt ensues. Chief Baddie is the deliciously icy Agent Wiegler (Cate Blanchett).

While the film doesn’t entirely subvert the action genre it is a breath of fresh air. First time feature writers, Seth Lochead and David Farr have come up with an original take on the 21st Century actioner, led by a very different kind of protagonist. While it is likely to be enjoyed by the demographic, it doesn’t appear to be aimed solely at that all-important 16 to 25-year-old male market.

No one can accuse director, Joe Wright of making films that look like telly. The spectacle, as in all his work, is a thing of beauty and best enjoyed on the big screen. However, making it all look good isn’t everything when it comes to action. Although he makes a pretty good fist of the action set-pieces he still has a lot to learn. He papers over the cracks with a lot of sound and fury (i.e. abundant quick edits combined with crash, bang, walloping beats from The Chemical Brothers, who expertly scored the film). But respect is due to the director of Pride and Prejudice, for throwing himself headfirst into yet another genre and really delivering the goods. It is an exhilarating watch, and further affirmation that Wright is a powerhouse of international cinema.

Notable mention to Eric Bana. He’s a big man but he’s in excellent shape. He handles his action scenes well and is proving to be a formidable physical presence on screen.

Annoyingly, a lot of the accents are faintly ridiculous and something of a distraction. A pet hate of this reviewer is actors speaking English but with an accent to suggest they are speaking in a foreign language. Speaking in your own voice is far more honest and effective. Watch, and learn from, Sean Connery, I say. It never did him or his audience any harm.

Quick word on the surprising 12A certificate awarded by our ever-liberal BBFC. I wouldn’t recommend this to any children under 12. There’s a steady stream of nastiness throughout and it’s far-from-comic-book violence.

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