The Films of 2011 – #7 Hanna


British director Joe Wright took a bold step away from the period dramas that he made his name with, and instead tackled the action/thriller genre head on with a near sci-fi tale of espionage.

Saoirse Ronan stars in a bombastic performance as the titular heroine who is, broadly speaking, an amalgam of Jason Bourne and Hit Girl. Having spent a childhood in isolation combat training with her father (Eric Bana), Hanna realises that her childhood is over & sets in motion a sequence of events that find her stealthing her way across Europe in search of parental vengeance whilst inadvertently learning how to become a “real girl” on the way.

As detractors might note, that isn’t the most original of plot premises, but it’s what Wright has done with the material that makes it so special. Scene after scene display almost Kubrickian levels of minute detail & painterly canvas composition. Early scenes in the frozen tundra take effective advantage of the bleak, bleached landscape.. Later scenes in Northern Africa have a balmy warm red glow in a different yet equally uninhabitable world. Cate Blanchett’s character is introduced to us in a vignette that has never made Grey look so colourful. Costume designs have a primary colour code that tell us about the personalities at an fairy-tale level, and indeed the whole film is constructed as a gritty reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s fables.. Don’t go down to the woods today, kids.

There is an escape / chase sequence about a third into the film which is unquestionably one of the most exciting scenes of cinema this past year, demonstrating an even balance of ultraviolence and symmetrical precision that appealed profoundly to the OCD-lite mathematics nerd part of my brain.

Ah yes, and lest we forget, the entire film is soundtracked by The Chemical Brothers – a piece of work that I can happily say is their best in years (it nearly made the Top Ten Albums list, so close chaps), with stomping lazer bassed techno in the action sequences and haunting vocal refrains and catchy whistled melodies at quieter moments.

Hanna is a confident, rolicking ride through the action genre. Reportedly its takings of $40million to date and vague critical ambivalence have translated into it being a film that has not gone over well with The Public. Personally I find this baffling – one can only theorise that its a bit too cerebral for the multiplex crowds, and a bit too trashy for the high falutin’ culture snobs. Either way, to not see this film is to miss out immensely.

Watch the trailer and get involved.


Hanna poster courtesy of legendary comic book artist Jock

Please come back at the same time tomorrow to see my pick for Film #6 of 2011. That’s if a genetically modified teenage assassin doesn’t snap my neck in the meantime.

The Clockwork Shorts 2011 retrospective can be browsed for your pleasure right HERE

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One thought on “The Films of 2011 – #7 Hanna

  1. Pingback: Xmas 2011 Round Up « Clockwork Shorts

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