This masterpiece somehow managed to escape my radar altogether when it was released last year, but I’m so glad I caught up with it. Thrilling, gripping, at times chilling, it combines several well known styles to create something truly unique, a new genre where fairytale meets thriller and horror meets sci-fi.
The opening scene, set in a white wonderland that later transpires to be Russia, was an immediate turn-off, and turn off I would have done, had it not been for the large, piping hot, oven fresh pizza balancing on my knee. The film was presented as something from the fantasy fiction genre, an area I refuse to go near.
Yet 10 minutes later, things were looking up, with the introduction of some American hotshots (who, it later transpired, were actually in Morocco-the geographicality of the film was somewhat confusing), and the thriller part of the film began.
Beautifully written, and spectacularly acted, Saoirse Ronan, who plays the protagonist Hanna, deserves special recognition. She brings a certain je-ne-sais-quoi to her character, perfecting the portrayal of a girl who has been all but raised in the wild, yet maintaining enough humanity for the audience to be rooting for her throughout.
Cinematographically, this is the best film in years. Beautifully lit, skillfully shot and framed, and the setting of part of the film in a dilapidated theme park was a stroke of pure genius, adding a touch of Burton to the film.
When the final credits rolled, I still hadn’t figured out who was the good guy and who was the bad guy, but I think that says more about me than the film. Somehow it didn’t matter.
No more comments will be made about the narrative, as it is hard to comment without giving too much away, and this is one film that is worth watching all the way through.
Anyone who is willing to put aside any questions of feasibility (the ease with which she escaped so many CIA agents, for one) will have an enjoyable and gripping hour and a half ahead of them.