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Hanna (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Not for children.

Run time 111 minutes.

Hanna (Saiorse Ronan) is a teenager raised in the Arctic by her father, Erik (Eric Bana) to be the perfect assassin. She is cold-blooded and courageous. When he allows her to go out into the world, it is with a specific target, to assassinate Marisa (Cate Blanchett).

Like all good thrillers, she gets into impossible situations, but she’s up to the task. All the while, though, she’s as much in the dark as the audience. Why is she doing these things? Why are all these government people after her?

Ronan gives a fine performance as the violent Hanna, as does Bana as her equally deadly father. Adding to the mischief, Blanchett, generally a good guy, is a satisfyingly hateful villain.

Ronan’s performance elevates this above a Bourne-type action film that is all action and no acting as she comes of age while she’s pursuing and being pursued. That Joe Wright could direct such a well-paced, entertaining adventure is a huge surprise because his background includes such yawners as Atonement (2007) and The Soloist (2009). He’s aided by a pretty good script (Seth Lochhead, whose script and story were apparently rewritten, or at least doctored, by David Farr), terrific cinematography (Alwin H. Kutchler), especially the Arctic scenes that start the movie, and music (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons as The Chemical Brothers). Also coming in for high praise is the editing (Paul Tothill). A chase thriller like this lives or dies on the quality of the editing. There isn’t a minute when the tension lapses.

There is quite a bit of violence, including a relatively graphic scene of a deer being shot. If you can put up with it this is a highly entertaining film.