Hold on. Wait. Gimme a second. I'm still trying to catch my breath after seeing this action film from director Joe Wright, who brought us the Oscar-nominated Atonement and the studio f**k-up The Soloist, He has finally made his masterpiece!
This is a rare type of film that hasn't been seen since the mid-90s when everyone was trying to copy the pulp flair of Quentin Tarantino. Hanna is a film filled with weird characters, weirder locations, dazzling visuals, amazing fight scenes, a pulse pounding soundtrack and great acting. I am a better person having seen this film. That being said, it's not for everyone. There will be haters out there who will think it's too weird or unnecessarily jumpy or perhaps even excessively violent, by only the hyper squeamish. But don't let that detract you from seeing this.
One of the most amazing accomplishments that Wright did was make a hardcore, grown-up aggressive action movie appear a lot more violent than it is. It's rated only PG-13 and that's because he kept the swearing virtually out completely and used cut-aways to mask the gore, much like how Jaws is scarier by NOT seeing the shark.
The cast contains Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones), Eric Bana (Munich, Funny People) and Cate Blanchett (Lord of the Rings, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). They're also joined by Tom Hollander (Pirates of the Caribbean, Pride & Prejudice) who plays an eerie and flamboyant henchmen to Blanchett's villain. Characters like his are part of what make this movie so amazing. Everything is slightly off. Blanchett is an American CIA agent but is in cahoots with Hollander's track suit-wearing, whistling killer who's backed up by a duo of skinhead soccer hooligans. I know this sounds odd but it totally works. The locations and sets are just as different too. You aren't sure where the hell the movie is even taking place for the first 25 minutes and three different locations.
Wright is at the top of his game with not only the visuals but the execution of them. There's a sequence that involves Bana walking through a crowded bus station and down into a subway platform that climaxes in an epic hand-to-hand brawl that is all done entirely in one take. Most people won't notice or care about a seven-minute-long, one-shot scene but the scale of attempting to do something like that is incredibly impressive.
The soundtrack is done by The Chemical Brothers and is probably one of the better ones to come out in a few years. It's part of a growing trend of hiring industrial/electronica artists to score your movie (such as Daft Punk doing Tron: Legacy and Trent Reznor doing The Social Network) and I'm so glad it's catching steam. Hanna's soundtrack is almost the perfect foot-stomper you want for an action film that is gritty and tense.
This is a film that I will enjoy seeing in the theater again and will look forward to owning on blu-ray many months from now. I will show it my friends in hopes that they take away from it as much enjoyment as I did. It's a movie that covers all angles by making you laugh at the right places, drop your jaw at technical achievements and almost cheer out loud for characters you want to see championed.
Hanna (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: A+