Blu-Ray Review: Saoirse Ronan Stars in Riveting ‘Hanna’

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CHICAGO – Given its lack of star power, Joe Wright’s “Hanna” was a surprisingly effective box office story, bringing in over $60 million worldwide on a budget half as big. And it’s likely to find an even-bigger audience on Blu-ray as action movies with this high a level of quality always do. With an A-list cast and incredible production values, “Hanna” is a speeding train. Don’t rent it for a “nice, relaxing evening.” Rent it and strap in. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is no ordinary teenage girl. She is introduced as a nearly feral killing machine. She hunts for food and practice. She is a focused hunter and killer. She always seems to be looking beyond her target or enemy to the next move. Who is she? Where did she come from? How did she end up like this? And why are enemies coming for her and her father (Eric Bana)? “Hanna” is essentially an elaborate chase movie. The title character and her father have hatched a plot to kill a woman named Marisa (Cate Blanchett) and then meet up in Berlin. Hanna kills the wrong woman but believes she has accomplished her mission and heads to meet her beloved father with Marisa chasing behind her.

“Hanna” unfolds like a modern fairy tale with visual references to the Brothers Grimm throughout. This girl from the little cottage in the worlds and the true story behind the big bad wolf in this dynamic combine into something like “Little Red Riding Hood” meets “Kill Bill.” And, yes, it’s just as innovative as that pitch line makes it out to be. Wright proves that he can do much more than the period chamber pieces of “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement” by staging some of the best action scenes in a long time and they’re all set to a simply fantastic score by The Chemical Brothers, one that gives the piece a driving rhythm that so many movies like “Hanna” lack. Technically, “Hanna” can be jaw-dropping as The Chemical Brothers’ music pounds through a fantastic DTS-HD 5.1 track and Ms. Ronan runs for her life.

Photo credit: Focus Features

Ronan delivers one of the best performances of the year, committing completely to the action and drama of the piece while never losing her vulnerability. This is a complex character, a girl more comfortable killing a man than kissing a boy, and Ronan is note perfect throughout. Bana and Blanchett add incredible personality to supporting characters that could have been bland plot devices, but the movie belongs to Ronan all the way.

Hanna was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 6th, 2011
Hanna was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 6th, 2011
Photo credit: Universal

The success of “Hanna” is ably assisted by a stellar Blu-ray release with a great array of special features. Video quality is above average and Blu-ray exclusives make HD the clear way to go, although the lack of U-Control functionality (the studio’s great special feature that allows picture-in-picture featurettes) is a bit disappointing. But it’s a very minor complaint for a great release for a great movie.

An action-packed suspense-thriller starring Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, The Lovely Bones), Hanna is “an exuberant chase thriller that pulses with energy!” (Justin Chang, Variety)

Raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA agent, in the wilds of Finland, Hanna’s upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one. Sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe, eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence, in a movie critics are calling “exhilarating, audacious and boldly original!” (Karen Durbin, Elle)

Special Features:
o Adapt Or Die - Experience Saoirse Ronan’s intense training to become the ultimate assassin
o Central Intelligence Allegory - Filmmakers and cast reveal their process for creating the wholly original spy film
o Chemical Reaction - A look into the Chemical Brothers’ approach to writing and scoring the stunning soundtrack
o The Wide World Of Hanna - Experience with filmmakers icy Finland to scorching Morocco
o Alternate Ending
o Deleted Scenes
o Anatomy Of A Scene: The Escape From Camp G
o Feature Commentary with Director Joe Wright
o Pocket Blu
o D-Box Motion Code Enabled
o BD Live Enabled
o Digital Copy Of Feature Film

“Hanna” stars Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett. It was written by Seth Lochhead and David Farr and directed by Joe Wright. It is rated PG-13 and runs 111 minutes. It opens on April 8th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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