HANNA, if you will accept its outrageousness at face value and go with the kinetic flow, is a darkly clever chase & revenge thriller: the Brothers Grimm join David Lynch on the way to “A Clockwork Orange”. Run Lola Run rubs Salt on Jason Bourne.
The consistently remarkable Saoirse Ronan moves like a cat and shines with spectral luminance as a sixteen-year old raised in isolation by her dad (Eric Bana, always welcome) in the frozen forests of Finland. Grilled in facts, figures & languages, drilled in survival techniques and lethal combat, Hanna is confronted with the outside world when she and ex-C.I.A. pop are pursued by evil project-spawner Cate Blanchett—eating up her villain role like a famished Cheshire cat.
A disparate group of characters—the hapless innocent and those much-less-than—cross bemused or bruising paths with pursued and pursuer. As the soundtrack pulses with music from The Chemical Brothers, the bodies stack up in bloody hand-to-hand womps from Morocco to Germany.
Directed with precision, puck & panache by Joe Wright, visually it’s a hyper-stylized killer, a tension-fueled patchwork quilt of symbolism, settings and slug-outs. The screenplay, from Seth Lockhead & David Farr, creates attention-stealing secondary characters played by Jessica Barden (the blithely naughty teen who befriends the mysterious Hanna) and Tom Hollander (a gay & gleeful sadist working for Blanchett). The chameleon Ronan carries volumes of expression in her eyes, and an ice-cold Blanchett displays wicked relish for wreaking havoc. That it’s all preposterous (how’d she get under that speeding humvee? when did she master the computer?) is vitally unimportant: it’s an action-fantasy and it works.
Also showing well are Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Aldo Maland, Martin Wuttke and Sebastian Hulk (a name to fight over). The $30,000,000 expenditure exacted $65,300,000 in tribute. From 2011, running, jumping and kicking hintern for 111 breathless minutes.