By rights, Hanna should be in French.
Or maybe an indie comic book optioned by a producer who spotted it in LA ’s Golden Apple store.
The last thing you expect this teenage-girl-as-trainedassassin flick to be is directed by Joe Wright, he of Brit costume gems Pride & Prejudice and Atonement.
No corsets here: Wright throws together this leftfield thriller with real panache. It’s undeniably cool, a pumping Chemical Brothers soundtrack layered over edgy edits and a stock of retro villains – Tom Hollander and his gang of Nazi bovver boy henchmen – who could have stepped out of a cult ’80s Euro thriller.
But at heart, Hanna is pure kids’ fairy tale. Teenager Hanna (Saoirse Ronan, fantastic) grows up hunting caribou in the wilderness, then leaves home and dad (Eric Bana, wasted) to battle the Wicked Witch of the West (Cate Blanchett, chilling as a CIA mandarin).
On paper, it sounds bold; on-screen its combo of killer action, teen adventure and Freudian fable takes off like a rocket but conks out two-thirds of the way in.
Yes, the screenplay gets points for bucking convention, but its botched origin story reveal struggles for impact among the overdone Brothers Grimm trappings (a gingerbread house and Big Bad Wolf fairground ride).
Wright’s execution is hyper-professional, but you can’t shake the suspicion Hanna’s misjudged its targets.
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