In the short span that I have been reviewing movies, I have established a very helpful principle: When confronted with writing reviews for two or more films, write the film you find most difficult to talk about first.
As part of my "Tuesday Double Feature" outings, I decided to see this film along with "Rango".
And so, here goes nothing...
CAUTION: SPOILERS AHEAD!
The film's straightforward premise, as stated on The Internet Movie Database, sums up the proceedings quite well:
A 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.
The only question left to answer is: How well did the film live up to this statement? Read on to find out...
On the whole, I'd say the film did an excellent job delivering on its premise. The coming-of-age drama/action-revenge thriller elements were held in tenuous balance from almost the very start of the film. While the action sequences are kinetic and well-staged, the heart of this film is in observing Hanna's own journey from a state of childhood to adulthood, made more difficult due to her prolonged isolation. While sitting in the theater, I was able to draw a quick parallel between this movie and Plato's famed Allegory of the Cave.
From an acting point of view, the cast turn in solid performances. My customary Scene-Stealer Award goes to Tom Hollander, who plays the quirky second-fiddle to the movie's villain (played to perfection by Cate Blanchett), Ms. Ronan does an equally perfect (but no less difficult) job in portraying the young protagonist. I must also give special recognition to the film's director-editor team of Joe Wright (in only his 4th feature directing gig) and Paul Tothill (both previously worked on Pride & Prejudice and Atonement) who were largely successful in balancing the fast, frenetic action sequences with the slow, deliberate pace of Hanna's journey of self-discovery.
This film affected me for a while after leaving the theater. I spent the commute home wondering where I should start. My mind also started drawing a further parallel between Hanna and hardened combat veterans returning/adjusting to civilian life, who no doubt experience the same general feelings of isolation and culture shock. After quite a bit of introspection, I wholeheartedly conclude that this film is a solid contender for my "Fantastic Four of 2011".
~Totoro (Creator, Executive Producer)