Review: Hanna

The latest from the director of Pride And Prejudice and Atonement is a break from the costume dramas he made his names with. Or at least it should be.

A kind of Feral Youth Nikita, it is a frenetic, stylish caper, full of chases and suspense, but it is a terribly British action thriller – it exists to impress rather than excite you.

Like George Clooney's plodding The American, the film attempts to take classic thriller archetypes and make something more of them.

Most of the characters in Hanna are versions of the standard ruthless empty vessels who populate the world of the airport page-turner, but the film is happy to have them stay that way.

The film opens in the Arctic Circle where a young girl Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) and her mentor (Eric Bana) are living a survivalist lifestyle in a remote hut. She is being trained to become the complete killing machine and pre-pared for an epic revenge mission.

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Cate Blanchett, who can act the fun out of any film, is the Cruella de Vil-style villain they are against.

Other than the basics, though, the film chooses to largely keep us in the dark. When a film withholds chunks of information from an audience, it only really leaves them two possible responses – intrigue or irritation.

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It's frustrating but you know that, eventually, they'll give in and the whole exercise will have been a waste of time.

Once it gets into its stride as a globe-trotting espionage romp, there are certainly some good moments and promis-ing leads. But somehow it's always too tricky, too busy busy.

Joe Wright fills it with allusions to fairy tales, interesting locations and big showy set pieces – some fast-cut mon-tages, some long unbroken tracking shots.

It seems to be aiming for a merging of the technical dexterity of Paul Greengrass on the Bourne films or Alfonso Cuar�n on Children Of Men, but it often struck me as being more like a high-faluting Michael Bay.

After his early success, Wright hit a wall with failed Oscar pleader, The Soloist. he's like a back-up Sam Mendes, a British director who loves cinema and is a very gifted film-maker but is hamstrung by a very British respectabil-ity.

Hanna (12A)

Director: Joe Wright

With: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng

Length: 111 mins


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