Dir. Joe Wright. USA. UK. Germany. 2011.

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Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) crafts a high energy chase thriller with ‘Hanna,’ about a teenage assassin(Saoirse Ronan) whose exposure to the real world, as opposed to the wilds of Finland where she lived with her ex-CIA operative father, Erik (Eric Bana), catapults her into a piquant and strange intrigue involving a C.I.A. operative named Marissa Wiegler (played with menacing flamboyance by Cate Blanchett).  From this point on the narrative embarks into a fairy tale flourish with Marisa  settting  her henchmen  on  Hanna, who pursues Marissa in turn.

Hanna is somewhere between 12 and 15 and has all the skills required to succeed in real life combat situations, trained meticulously as she is by her father during their years in hibernation. The movie opens with Hanna tracking and striking down a deer with a bow and arrow. She is seen running fast and faster yet pursuing her target with consummate ease and then finally taking it’s life with a gun. The sequence probably signifies her readiness to come out of the shadow world in which she and her father exist. Once she breaks away from her father she has to face Marisa and unravel the mystery of her strange existence. The screenplay by Seth Lockhead and David Farr incorporates clichéd  sequences from several action movies but that doesn’t take anything away from the integral story of Hanna’s transformation in the real world where her knowledge and intelligence allow her the experience to tackle trouble head-on. The entire scenario is a bit odd and off-kilter but it is interestingly driven.   But the cat and mouse game between Marisa and Hanna doesn’t end in great fireworks as expected.

The end-game in fact appears too feeble and weak in comparison to what transpired before it. Hanna’s love for her father despite their separation is quite tangible. The narrative brings out the emotions and the derived  action is also high-end. Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett essay their roles with finesse but the characters they play are thinly modeled . Saoirse Ronan imbues Hanna with a spirited emotional and moral fibre that helps take the narrative beyond the mere commonplace. The fight sequences are fantastic, the narrative spiel is intense and absorbing , the music by Chemical brothers lends adds to the intense involvement and  the cinematography  showcases the exhilarating to great effect.  The only problem here is believability of the central conceit itself. Hanna appears too young to be able to do all the things she is made to do in the story and that makes the whole experience a tad wanting!

Rating:   *  *  *

Johnson Thomas

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