Directed by Joe Wright
It’s a big help to this modestly original thriller that Saoirse Ronan “has the ability to make us believe the unbelievable,” said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. By the end of the startling first 40 minutes, you’ll be more than willing to accept that this “wild child” teenager has been raised in an isolated “Red Riding Hood–type cottage” and that her secret-agent dad has succeeded in turning her into a world-class assassin. Unfortunately, the world that greets her when she finally steps away from that cloistered existence is crowded with cliché characters, including a misused Cate Blanchett as the cold-blooded CIA ringmaster who wants Ronan dead. For a good stretch, the movie actually gets “self-consciously odder, agreeably so,” said Manohla Dargis in The New York Times. But whereas Blanchett plays her wicked-queen role with “witty menace,” Ronan’s performance hints at secret depths that the script never bothers to plumb. Still, Hanna offers proof that “action movies need not be mindless,” said Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times. Though it may have no ambition beyond stirring the same emotions “reached by fairy tales,” that’s ambition enough.