Film:  Hanna

Year:  2011

Director:  Joe Wright

Bonus:  Q & A with Joe Wright

Venue:  Tricycle Theatre & Cinema, London

Further Info:


Saoirse Ronan

Eric Bana

Cate Blanchett

Tom Hollander

Paris Arrowsmith

Olivia Williams

Jason Flemying

Nathan Nolan

Running Time: 111 mins


What a gorgeous setting, pure white wilderness with just a smuttering of blood.  What did i say?  It doesn’t matter…  I don’t do spoilers… but indeed what a setting we open up on here in this movie.  A world away from where we are, and you could say ‘who’ we are.

And… What a lovely & loving relationship this girl has with one of her parents.  But is she really alone, inside?  Perhaps.  But, maybe she is missing out on other aspects of life… aspects that you and I take for granted.  This said, she’s definitely educated in ways many people are not.

As idyllic a setting and life these two may have things take a change for something quite different.  Quite is a light word but I’m doing my utmost to keep the effect of the various occurrences secret so one can enjoy to their potential. Then… Feel the cinematic blows that this movie deals.

Enter another actress – Cate – yes do I need to give her surname…?  It’s spelt with a “C” See?  Now you know which actress I’m talking about!  Indeed, Cate is always good with accents and this is no exception.  Cate’s character in this film is a believable one whilst bringing an almost Cruella De Ville persona to the role.  So, she’s a bad guy you ask?  Go figure [excuse my Americanisms, but hey it’s all language].

Woodland Cate Red Hair Joe Wright Hanna

In a further scene in the movie, not much longer after being introduced to the character Cate is playing, the main male cog (Bana) in this movie is trying to avoid being found.  All around him in his ‘latest’ city are billboards featuring eyes or glasses on eyes – I’m unsure if these are subliminal messages but either way I thought they were trying to tell me something… Essentially that the character is being watched or that there are eyes everywhere.

This film has more action than I thought it would, but it’s done brilliantly and not full of those awful fast edits we see too often [this is also commented on by the director, Joe Wright in the Q & A which followed the picture].

In fact, at the beginning it indeed came across as a stylised film such as Moon, or Gattaca – this was made ironic later on when the GaTtacA letters were used and there was mention of… what?… D.N.A. of course.  Have you not seen Gattaca?!  See it.  Seriously.

To go with the action scenes and in general we have a brilliantly accompanying pulsing soundtrack, by the Chemical Brothers (amongst others).  Wow – it really works too!  The music in this really is amazing and stretches across more than one musical genre, something I didn’t expect from seeing what little I had prior to the screening.

Regarding the Chemical Brothers featuring in this picture, and heavily too on certain scenes, a fantastically produced chase scene not far from the start of the film springs to mind and resounds in my head long after the film finishes.

Hanna Joe Wright Review Grey

But this film isn’t solely action, far from it.  As well as drama, a pretty good plot and elements of kitchness & almost retroness – such as track suits and cassette tapes – there is much subtle humour.

As one example: Look out for a guy on an escalator.  Classic.  That’s all I’m saying.

The more I write this review – although I guess I pretty much thought this whilst the film was on – the more I think of it as an almost flawless picture.  This said, there was one scene that niggled at me, thinking it as a bit of a cop-out…:

In the often seen scene of an individual hiding somewhere we watch as the baddies approach the area where our hero is, immediately after she has fled.  These antagonists stop, look around and wander off.  It is so ‘too close for comfort’.  How did they not look further?  I put it down to the fact that one of these characters is almost constantly whistling.  Either that or they were meant to come across as so sure of catching our heroine/hero that they weren’t going to waste their time at this moment [think Jaws or similar James Bond baddies].

Well, I guess that’s it regarding the style, the music, the comedy and general feel.

Hanna Joe Wright Hollander

So, as I often do I’ll leave this review with a couple of analogies or assumed analogies by yours truly:

*An almost ‘Batman & Robin TV series’ reminiscent shot reveals what we presume to be an upside down room, only to be shown that its the focal character of this particular scene, who is upside down.  Indeed, this trick has been used before in other movies or programmes but the comparison I like to make was that the protagonist’s world was being turned upside down… literally.

*The second & last comparison?  At an amusement park, of sorts a ‘baddie’ appears from what would seem to be the mouth of a wolf’s.  I felt this individual was to reflect a poisoned tongue, a little like a venomous snake.

[The latter remarks are those of mine alone but I do hope the similarities are there to be witnessed by all, without me revealing true spoilers.]

Hanna is nothing short of perfect, sublime and unpredictable.  This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t end up being yet another action film in places, but stylishly done.  But… Damn you, Hanna for making me wish I was on holiday – whether this be Morocco, Finland, Germany or Spain.

That said, you’ve got to hand it to Hanna, the characters and of course director. In other words..:

Hats off and Hands together for Hanna.

Tricycle Theatre Joe Wright Hanna Q A

Q & A

In this Question & Answers session, the director describes various aspects.  He does so with humour and cool panache.

Joe explained how he didn’t want this movie fitting into any genre.  Indeed it was intended that way, not least following the less-than-hoped-for acclaim which his “The Soloist” received.  Essentially, Nick had nothing to lose after that previous film not getting the credit it deserved – and I understand that part of the reason for this non-genre aspect was due to him wanting to do something different, again he he didn’t care who was interested as such following “The Soloist”s media reception.

Joe talks of various friends involved with this project, including the Chemical Brothers whom he’s known since back when – and before, I believe – they were known as the Dust Brothers.  He also mentioned his surprise when they agreed to make the music and compositions for Hanna.

There was a brief mention of Joe’s previous pictures, including “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement”, as well as the forthcoming take on classic “Anna Karenina”.

Lastly, and much to my designer friend’s approval (who had attended this screening with me on this evening), a question was raised about the font and style used for the main titles, and mainly how the word “HANNA’ appears.

HANNA Joe Wright

Find this trailer and other Minier [ok, that’s not a real word in the UK, but…] Movies here at: