Hanna (2011, dir. By Joe Wright) Joe Wright never fails to impress; even with films like The Soloist, you still get a satisfying output from him. Hanna is one of his best, but I don’t know where I would rank it next to Pride and Prejudice or Atonement. Either way he is one of the best filmmakers working today. Saoirse Ronan, who also always seems to impress, stars as Hanna, a teenager living in Finland’s wilderness with her father, played by Eric Bana, who we see training her to be a skilled assassin in league with Jason Bourne. Hanna’s father has actually been training her to face Marissa Wiegler, a CIA operative who seems to want Hanna for some purpose and who is played by a never better Cate Blanchett. The film follows Hanna and Wiegler through a thrilling but deadly game of cat-and-mouse, and contains beautiful moments when the naïve Hanna interacts with the world she has never seen. The supporting cast is also superb, with the reliable Tom Hollander as a creepy assassin hired by Wiegler, as well as Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng as a gypsy family that Hanna meets during her journey. The film is a marvel to watch as well, with Hanna traveling through many different locations effortlessly, performing many magnificent stunts, the best occurring in a container park. At no point did I have trouble suspending my disbelief for Hanna is just so well done. Also worth noting is that the film has a great score by The Chemical Brothers. Joe Wright has proved himself more than needed.
JV's comments: No doubt about it, Joe Wright is establishing himself as a filmmaker as varied and diverse as Steven Soderbergh. None of his four major films has much in common with the others, yet they are all successful, to varying degrees. As good as the famous BBC version (the Colin Firth as Darcy version) of "Pride and Prejudice" was, when I feel the need to get my periodic fix for the story, it is his version that I turn to. "Hanna" is the outlier among the four films mentioned above, and over time it may come to be regarded as his most successful. It succeeds entirely on its own terms, being one of the best thrillers in recent years - a thriller with a good deal more soul than your run of the mill action flick. Good stuff indeed.