REVIEW: Hanna, Flicks.co.nz
Saorise Ronan as teen assassin Hanna

2 stars

Action-thriller about a 14-year-old (The Lovely Bones' Saorise Ronan), raised by her father to be a cold-hearted killing machine. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice). Screening nationwide, click for movie times and more info.


Of the (too) many things Hanna undoubedly is – action yarn, travelogue, coming-of-age drama – it feels most like a music video homaging Besson (Leon, The Fifth Element) and Bowie (The Man Who Fell To Earth).

As a Chemical Brothers score thumps and skitters, Atonement director Joe Wright juxtaposes Saoirse Ronan’s china-white face against a kaleidoscope of ever-changing industrial and exotic backdrops, with choppy editing, fairytale symbolism and miscast actors all thrown into the mix.

Like Natalie Portman in Leon, Hanna (Ronan) is a pint-sized assassin who’s capable at killing but clueless in the ways of the world. Leaving her dad/trainer (Bana playing, we think, Scandinavian) behind in the Arctic, she heads off round Europe to avenge her mother’s death, encountering Blanchett’s evil operative (Deep South), Hollander’s camp killer (German) and all manner of dwarves, henchmen and heinous accents along the way.

As the heightened imagery reminds us, Hanna is an Alice adrift in her own violent Wonderland, but Wright fails to establish a base reality for the film, which flits and flickers nonsensically past – a patchwork of flashy moments, none of which quite stitch together. The fight scenes, though few and far between, are excellent, particularly Bana’s U-Bahn smackdown that takes place in one impossible Matrix-y take, but most of the time Wright simply throws everything he can think of at the screen like the promo director he used to be. Great soundtrack, though.

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