Best Movies of All Time + [Tom Hollander]

HANNA

HANNA-13

Hanna is a 2011 action film directed by Joe Wright. The film opens on a young girl named Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) as she hunts an elk in an icy wilderness. After making the kill, she is "ambushed" by her father Erik (Eric Bana) and a subsequent fight ensues. We quickly learn that Erik used to be some sort of special agent, and he is training his daughter for a mission to kill a woman named Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), who killed Hanna's mother. When Erik believes Hanna to be ready, he gives her the option of taking that path in life. After spending some time contemplating the decision, Hanna chooses to take the risk and calls for Marissa to find her. Within a day, Marissa's team scoops Hanna and brings her back to a secret base, from which she soon escapes and believes she's killed the real Marissa and has successfully completed her mission. Hanna begins her journey to Berlin, where she is to meet her father, but a series of roadblocks stand in her path. She befriends a similarly-aged girl named Sophie (Jessica Barden) and her family, but the friendship ultimately puts Sophie's family in peril as well. As Hanna continues her journey, she must fight to stay alive and put together the pieces of the puzzle that solve the riddle that is her life.

I know the above synopsis sounds a little convoluted, but it's the best I can manage considering the circumstances. In all reality, the screenplay is rather original and very inventive, but it's not necessarily going to blow you away. Still, we're given a solid story that's more or less straight-forward. We're thrown a twist here or there, but for the most part, the screenplay is very linear and doesn't deviate from it's course once it's set. I can honestly say that Hanna is the first smash action thriller of the year, even after giving Source Code a glowing review last week. From the opening scene, you're hooked into the film, and it never gives you the opportunity to back out. We've got a ton of pulse-pounding action that'll keep you on the edge of your seat.

The acting ensemble is probably the best we've been given thus far in 2011, and it's spear-headed by the young and ferocious Ronan. For those of you who haven't heard of this acting wonder, you need not look past her 2008 Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in Atonement. Although I wasn't drawn into all that hype, she definitely delivered for me this time around. We very well may have the makings of a new female action star here, but that's neither here nor there for the moment. Ronan brings a strong performance of duality, fluidly switching from tough-as-nails killer to scared-and-defenseless teenager on the fly. This constant changing provides us a broad spectrum for her Hanna, and it makes her performance all the more believable and gives the audience the ability to relate to the character. So kudos, little one, on a fine acting performance.

That's not to say that the supporting characters don't pull their weight. Bana and Blanchett bring their typical greatness to the screen, so there's not much to say there (although, I'm still not sure how I feel about Blanchett's Southern accent, but I won't get into that now). We also have some very good smaller roles from the likes of Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng, who play the aforementioned Sophie's parents. And Tom Hollander, who most of you will recognize from the second and third installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, portrays a very creepy villain that's sure to give you some chills.

I'd also like to tip my hat to the Chemical Brothers for producing a very emphatic musical score for the film. Although it's a little bit out there, it finds a way to fit Hanna perfectly, and it should definitely be commended.

Overall, Hanna might not be a must-see, but it's pretty darn close. If you're itching for some mile-a-minute action, then this is easily your best bet this weekend. Throw in some great performances, and you've got the makings of a very, very good film. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: A-
1.5 Thumbs Up