AntBuoy and I faced a dilemma as we entered West India Quay Cineworld on this occasion. With X-Men First Class and Kung Fu Panda 2 not yet out we were torn between The Hangover Part 2 and Hanna. We decided to leave it up to the person selling us our tickets who had only seen Hanna but pointed out that The Hangover had only just arrived in cinemas while Hanna was about to disappear from them. Hanna it was.
For once AntBuoy and I differed in our opinion. He thought it was an unfocused mess that didn’t know what it was trying to be, an argument I can fully understand but I found it entertaining nonetheless.
Hanna is a golden-haired snow white teen raised in a frozen wilderness to be a flawless killer and survival expert. Her father (Eric Bana) fills her head with facts but no emotion until she’s ready to enter the real world. The two depart agreeing on a rendezvous point, Hanna is captured and promptly escapes and hooks up with a travelling British family in Morocco. Meanwhile an iron-willed CIA agent (a heftily-accented Cate Blanchett) recruits some German toughs to track the girl down.
This one falls quite comfortably into the category of ‘offbeat thriller’. It’s Jason Bourne through a fairytale kaleidoscope. The Brothers Grimm and their stories are referenced frequently and the film is full of oddballs and colourful characters. Hanna meanwhile is a convincing and engaging action heroine. She’s Hit Girl minus the potty mouth and very much a fish out of water, reeling off the statistics of a fictitious identity to the first non-threatening stranger she meets like a POW reciting name rank and serial number. Saoirse Ronan is an engaging screen presence, ghostly and wide-eyed, a mix of clever editing and choreography helping her to convince in the action stakes.
It’s an eclectic mix of action, comedy and surreal expression and it never does what you expect it to do but the various elements don’t quite gel into a wholly cohesive experience. The action is consistently fast and frantic, including some very impressive long takes and set to a thumping Chemical Brothers soundtrack and many of the misfit characters will find fans but the plot is extremely loose, what twists there are fall flat and there are plenty of holes. Another mixed bag then but you could do a lot worse for sure.
An interesting mix-up of styles and genres that doesn’t quite succeed but at least offers something different.