A young girl grows up in forest. Marked out as special from birth, she has had no contact with the outside world save for her father. But a wicked witch, an army of minions at her disposal, will stop at nothing to seize her… No, not a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm but Joe Wright’s exhilarating action thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan as cinema’s latest kick-ass heroine.
Trained from infancy by her ex-CIA-agent father (Eric Bana) to be the perfect assassin, Ronan’s 16-year-old Hanna sets the story in motion by electing to leave the safety of her home in the icy wilds of Finland to confront her destiny.
Accompanied on the soundtrack by a throbbing Chemical Brothers score, her rites-of-passage journey to adulthood begins with military rendition to and escape from an underground bunker in the Moroccan desert – clad in an orange jumpsuit, in case we’re slow to pick up on the war-on-terror subtext.
Primed for combat, but clueless about the ordinary world, she makes her first tentative friend in gabby fellow teen Sophie (Tamara Drewe’s Jessica Barden) while hitching a ride with Sophie’s globetrotting New Age family (headed by hippie mom Olivia Williams and dad Jason Flemyng).
But all the while, this teen-girl Jason Bourne is drawing closer to a final showdown with the story’s evil witch – Cate Blanchett’s ruthless CIA operative, a woman so driven she makes even flossing look scary.
Previously best known for his sumptuous lit flicks Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, Wright shows he can handle action with aplomb. True, he hammers home the story’s fairy tale parallels for all they’re worth, but Ronan, glowing with feral intensity, somehow pulls off the far-fetched role of pale-skinned, blonde-haired avenger.
On general release from 6th May.