Given a choice between two intelligent action movies about ultra-violent adolescents, I opted for Joe Wright’s Hanna, rather than Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block, and was rewarded with a highly entertaining piece of work whose treatment belies its B-movie plotting. The almost literally luminous Saoirse Ronan is exceptional in the title role of the child trained from birth by her gone-to-ground retired secret agent father, Eric Bana, to take revenge on his former boss, ice-queen Cate Blanchett. Apparently Ronan secured the job for Wright, having worked with him on the wonderful Atonement, and while the action scenes (including a miraculous single-take set-piece featuring Bana and a gang of unfortunate assailants) are handled with great efficiency, his directorial stamp is most evident in those fairy-tale-inflected sequences depicting Hanna’s experience of sensory overload on belatedly coming from ice-bound seclusion into a world of exotic sights, bemusing sounds and complex emotions. There are brilliant supporting performances too from Tom Hollander, as Blanchett’s camp German enforcer, and young Jessica Barden as the epitome of normal teenagehood whom Hanna encounters on her travels, along with her world-weary bohemian parents, Olivia Willams and Jason Flemyng. The Chemical Brothers’ score is predictably excellent as well. Highly recommended.
Great quote from Stephen Fry, casually tossed off during an interview: “Music is not about understanding any more than love is about understanding - it’s an emotional, almost physical thing that overcomes you.” (BBC Breakfast, 12th May, 2011). It’s been said before, of course, but always worth hearing.