Susie Salmon beats up bad guys

Monday May 2nd 2011

Just how director Joe Wright went from the heartbreakingly perfect Atonement to the mind-numbingly mediocre The Soloist in just two years remains a mystery. Luckily, two more years have now passed and from the looks of things, he’s at least starting to realise where he went wrong.

Let’s be clear: Hanna is no Atonement. In fact, it’s inferior on almost every level. The plot is uninteresting and implausible, the casting often bizarre and miscalculated; even the characters themselves fail to inspire, which is a pretty big problem when we’re forced to spend quite so much one-on-one time with them.

It’s yet another movie with an ‘ass-kicking’ female lead and Wright has been keenly distancing it from a certain other girlie action film by bad-mouthing Zack Snyder and complaining that his films don’t have any decent female characters in them. But let’s be clear on this: the only real difference between the women of Sucker Punch and the eponymous teen of Hanna is that you don’t get anywhere near as good a look at Hanna’s tits.

But for all its failings, I can’t pretend I didn’t enjoy Hanna a hell of a lot. First and foremost, it’s a brilliant sales pitch for Joe Wright The Action Director. There are at least four incredibly tense sequences, shot beautifully by Alwin Kuchler and perfectly matched by a Chemical Brothers soundtrack that stops just short of overkill. Here’s a little sample for you to enjoy, along with a photo of Saoirse Ronan running down a corridor to help set the scene.

It’s probably not enough for a movie to look and sound nice when it comes at the expense of character, story and basic logic, but Hanna at least offers hope that Mr. Wright might not be on such a downslope after all.

See you in two years, Joe.