Meet the new Hit Girl on the block.

Hanna review

If the trajectory of Atonement director Joe Wright’s career went a little off course with his last film, touchy-feely US debut The Soloist, it’s now firmly back on track with Hanna.

A woozy mix of hard-as-nails actioner and modern-day fairytale, there are times when this surreal trek across Europe feel as if Hans Christian Andersen has rewritten The Bourne Identity.

Hanna (Atonement’s Saoirse Ronan) is no ordinary 16-year-old. Raised in a remote woodland cottage in the north of Finland by her father Erik (Eric Bana), a former CIA operative, she’s been skilled in everything from close combat to wilderness survival.

Desperate to go out into the world, her chance comes when the pair part company in the woods, just as the CIA – led by Cate Blanchett’s big bad wolf – close in.

Captured, and taken to be interrogated in a below-ground facility, Hanna uses her spy skills to hotfoot it out of there, finds herself in Morocco and uses a holidaying hippie Brit family (led by Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng) as cover. Befriending their daughter Sophie (Jessica Barden), Hanna briefly comes to realise what it means to be a normal teenager.

Wright never lets it get too sentimental though – partly because of the relentless pace and pounding Chemical Brothers score, partly because of a terrific turn from Ronan. Tougher than a barrel of cookies, she makes Kick-Ass’ Hit Girl look like a Barbie doll, and is certainly more authentic than Blanchett, rather miscast as the hard-ass.

There’s also a curious turn from Tom H ollander as an assassin instructed to pursue Hanna across the continent. With dyed blonde hair, silly German accent and turquoise shell-suit, let’s just say it’s not a good look. But then nothing about Hanna is ordinary.

Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. But, to borrow from David Lynch, Wright’s world is wild at heart and weird on top.


Fascinating. Wright confounds expectations with a wholly original genre mash-up, anchored by the splendid Ronan. Offering a unique worldview, even Blanchett and Hollander’s sore-thumb casting adds to the strange texture.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • Ceciliaonfire

      May 2nd 2011, 8:42

      "Sometimes, children are bad people too." What a catch line...

      Alert a moderator

    • autumn

      May 9th 2011, 14:28

      I saw this film yesterday and enjoyed it. however I was a bit surprised that it was 12A. according to the BBFC this film only contains 'moderate violence'. While the violence is not extreme, I think it's more than moderate. There are quite a number of killings committed in a number of bloody fashions. As I said I enjoyed the film - it was entertaining, original, had an excellent performance by Saiorse Ronan and a cool soundtrack. But I think 12A is not appropriate. Also I bet that if it had a couple more F-words it would have been bumped up to 15 cos the BBFC seems to be stricter with swear words than violence. interested in what Total Film writers and readers think about this.

      Alert a moderator

    • baldeelox

      Jun 5th 2011, 5:45

      12A more like a 18 a few years back lol..great flick though

      Alert a moderator

    • baldeelox

      Jun 5th 2011, 5:47

      I agree with Autum the bbfc has had it a*s backwards for years wish i was 12 again would have to sneak into 18's like we used to..

      Alert a moderator

Most Popular