Today: May 23, 2024


Living alone with her father Erik (Eric Bana) in a snowy forest high above the Arctic Circle, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is much like any other teenage girl. If that teenage girl has been trained from birth to be the ultimate assassin

received much critical acclaim for period dramas Pride & Prejudice and Atonement,
before stumbling slightly with failed Oscar-grab The Soloist, it seems strange
for Joe Wright to turn his hand at this more action-oriented story of assassins
and secret agents. All doubts are quelled, however, when it becomes clear that
this is a very personal, character-driven tale of conspiracy and revenge; one
which Wright expertly crafts into a taut and engrossing action thriller.

The film begins with Hanna (Ronan),
a 16-year-old girl, living alone with her father (Bana) in the wilds of Finland. While Hanna displays a remarkable
aptitude for hunting, as well as an extraordinary talent for retaining the
education that her father has passed to her from books, it soon becomes clear
that he is an ex-government agent and that they are both in hiding.

However, Hanna has reached an age where she wants to see more of the
world and so her father reluctantly agrees to her setting off a beacon that
gives away their position to intelligence operative Marissa (Blanchett). Now the father-daughter duo
part ways to meet again at a later rendezvous point, as both face off against
Marissa’s attempts to capture them, and Hanna ventures into a modern world to
which she has never previously been privy.

From the stark-white, snowy plains of Finland, to the barren desert outside
the sterile corridors of a government facility, the whole film is leant a
clinical feel that mirrors Hanna’s instilled discipline and controlled
emotions. This is emphasised by Saoirse Ronan’s own washed-out anaemic look as
she perfectly portrays this teenage assassin out of place in a world filled
with modern appliances and unfriendly strangers. More impressively, however,
Ronan carries out her action sequences with real strength and alertness,
perfectly selling the idea that she has been honed into a deadly weapon.

Bana also gets a chance to flex his action muscles but there is little
screen-time for him to fully show-off what could be a new calling for the
actor. By contrast, Cate Blanchett remains the stoical villain, keeping
mysteriously composed in her pursuit of both father and daughter meaning that,
on the rare occasion that she does lose her rag, it is all the more

Overall, the script suffers from a few issues, such as the unlikely ease
with which Hanna adjusts to her new surroundings, as well as an unfortunately
clumsy ending. However, it makes up for this by managing to inject a surprising
amount of humour into an otherwise sober story, most of which comes from
liberated travellers Jason Flemyng and Olivia Williams, along with their
chatterbox daughter. All of this helps to make for a fresh entry into the
spy/assassin canon of films and one that marks yet another triumph in Wright’s
career to date.

To Pre-Order Hanna On DVD Click Here Or On Blu-Ray Click Here

David Watson

David Watson is a screenwriter, journalist and 'manny' who, depending on time of day and alcohol intake could be described as a likeable misanthrope or a carnaptious bampot. He loves about 96% of you but there's at least 4% he'd definitely eat in the event of a plane crash. Email:

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