Hanna is basically a new Bourne film where Jason Bourne is replaced by a little girl. A ‘newbourne’ if you will, except I think she is like 16 so that pun doesn’t work exactly but it would be great if it did. I loved the Bourne films and I generally like everything Matt Damon has done especially as it makes his lampooning in Team America just seem ill-informed, like they forgot to check to see if Matt Damon was actually really cool before they came up with the idea, they should have done Ben Affleck instead surely. Erm anyway, Matt Damon is not in Hanna – the diminutive eponymous super soldier is played by Saoirse Ronan who is also cool it turns out. She looks like if Thor was a skinny 16 year-old girl and is surprisingly plausible as a tiny kick-arse ninja, much more so than the tiny kick-arse ninja in Kick-Ass.
Also starring in Hanna is Cate Blanchett who is excellent as a villain. Why doesn’t she have more roles like this? Oh it looks like she just made some bad choices after Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Robin Hood), hopefully she will play some more villains soon. Her character in Hanna is fascinating: clearly a determined, pathological intelligence agent – amoral and ruthless, but one who’s flawless, icy mask occasionally slips and who seems secretly motivated by a very personal agenda that hints that there is much more to her than just being a simple bad guy – truly a classic performance. She should play a Bond villain or superhero movie villain, or at least stop messing around with Hobbits. Eric Bana was also decent, though his role is less memorable and clearly Saoirse Ronan is the real star of the show.
It was strange seeing ‘The Fucker’ from The Thick Of It as a gay German hitman and I did think that Tom Hollander was a bit of out of place – though he was clearly meant to be a freakish menace he came across as a bit pantomime, though I suppose that is hardly surprising given the film’s subtle references to fairy tales (including wicked witch shoes and big bad wolf heads). Actually Philip French has described his character as gay but I thought it was implied he was a paedophile – or at least liked young girls – which was part of why he was creepy going after Hanna. Maybe I am wrong. Either way he was a bit miscast and unnecessary I think, I would have ditched that whole thing and just had Cate Blanchett and some faceless hitmen or agents, given her more screen time.
The only real flaw with the film is that the beginning is so great that the rest of the film doesn’t exceed it. I pretty much loved all the start, lots of lovely intrigue with no explanations and exciting action. Overall though I think Hanna is an excellent film. It’s maybe a bit less ambitious than the director, Joe Wright’s previous Atonement – which may have had fucking James McAvoy in it and a hilarious big screen swear word, but also had one of the greatest scenes in recent cinema (the Dunkirk scene, which you can ruin for yourself here on YouTube if you like). I’d love to see a series of Hanna films, like the Bourne films, and the story definitely leaves room for expansion, and as they point out ‘kids grow up’.