Rashid Irani's review: Hanna

: Joe Wright
Voices: J Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett
Rating: *** 1/2

Working from an original script for the first time, Hanna marks a radical departure for Joe Wright, the British director of such acclaimed literary adaptations as Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. As it turns out, he is an inspired choice to helm the globetrotting killer thriller.

An amalgam of the Bond-Bourne adventures and a modern day fairy tale, the dark drama revolves around the titular 16-year-old protagonist (Saoirse). Raised in isolation since childhood by her father, a rogue CIA agent (Eric Bana), the teenager has honed her combat skills over the years. In other words, the wild child has the makings of a one-woman army.

CateIt takes a while for the narrative to gather momentum. The gifted young girl eventually leaves seclusion to wreak vengeance on a nemesis (Blanchett) who holds the secret to her real identity.

While wrapped up in a preposterous plotline, the film’s appeal lies in watching the heroine fight her way out of tight spots. Like Lola in the popular 1999 German film, Hanna is constantly on the run. She rarely pauses for breath, instead racing across Morocco, Spain and Germany at breakneck speed. The action culminates in a brutal face-off in an abandoned amusement park.

The script is not without its share of inconsistencies. Spending one night in Maghrib, the eponymous naïf marvels at the electricity in her room. But a few days later at a cybercafé in Berlin, she surfs the Net like a computer geek. The deafening background music score by the British big beat band, Chemical Brothers, is counterproductive at times.

Reuniting with her Atonement director, Saoirse Ronan is terrific as the lethal fighter. Cate Blanchett has a blast as the paranoid baddie. Eric Bana and Tom Hollander in the role of a hired assassin are ineffectual, though. Compelling despite its contrivances, Hanna is worth a ticket to ride.


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