Film review | Hanna
Joe Wright tries his hand at an action film, and the upgrade in bombast is deafening.
First came Pride & Prejudice, an adaptation so frenetic it seemed determined to distract viewers from Austen’s language. Then came Atonement, which puffed up the hollowness of Ian McEwan’s literary conceit with even more sweeping camerawork. Now comes Hanna, director Wright’s attempt at an action film, and the according upgrade in bombast is deafening. It’s less a movie than a wacky, genre-hybridizing dance-club installation—which may not be the preferred mode for a globe-trotting chase picture about a wild-child assassin savant (Ronan).
Here we are, trying to figure out why Hanna’s ex-agent dad (Bana) raised her for 15 years in the freezing woods to kill his drawling CIA archnemesis (Blanchett, looking like a castoff from Fassbinder’s World on a Wire), and whether genetic engineering is involved; meanwhile, Wright is staging an utterly gratuitous long-take subway-station fight scene, goofing around with a crew of epicene German hit men (where’s Udo Kier’s cameo?) and thwomping a wall-to-wall Chemical Brothers score that makes the film feel like a noncomputerized TRON: Legacy. Coherence is not among its virtues, but Hanna teems with possibility: As the movie segues from a wintry survivalist stag-hunting to a high-tech prison escape to a cargo-park beatdown to a Gilliam-esque interlude, there’s a thrilling sense that anything can happen. But Seth Lochhead and David Farr’s long-unproduced script never provides satisfactory answers, and the film is hampered by its need to be all things to all people. Once the Morocco scenes add a hippie family for Hanna to befriend, the adrenaline dips; Wright might as well be handing viewers juice boxes. Still, grandiosity is in short supply these days, and one is inclined to applaud Hanna’s courage to be a freak.