Hanna Directed by: Joe Wright Written by: Seth Lochhead & David Farr (screenplay) Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, and Olivia Williams
Looking at a DNA report that concludes the subject is “Abnormal,” is probably the last thing a teenager needs to see. Though when said teenager has just finished disposing a handful of government agents like life were on the “Easy” setting, it may be the least of her worries. But Hanna (Saorise Ronan) still looks slightly wounded when looking at that piece of paper. It’s one of the few moments director Joe Wright stops to smell the emotion in this thrilling exercise in kinetic action.
Hanna begins in the arctic wilderness, where her father (Eric Bana) has kept and trained her since he went rogue from the CIA. She was bred for tactical assassinations, something he infuses with his own agenda. Hanna is tasked with taking down Marissa (Cate Blanchett) the woman he claims has killed her mother. Wright never lingers in loss or death in this film, putting Hanna in constant motion throughout. It is a vision of what last year’s Kick-Ass would’ve looked like had the subject been only focused on Hit-Girl and her father.
Atonement Directed by: Joe Wright Written by: Christopher Hampton (screenplay), Ian McEwan (novel) Starring: Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, and Vanessa Redgrave
Atonement isn’t a time capsule for your grandparents. If you’re looking for the lavish period drama with the costumes as the stars, it’s gone with the wind. This movie, yet another adaptation of a well-received if faded from memory book, is a love story for the modern age; that is to say, a pretty damn depressing one.
The movie starts off on a perfect 45-minute grace note, setting up the passionate exchange between Robbie (James McAvoy) and Cecilia (Keira Knightley). Cecilia is a wealthy daughter of an affluent family, Robbie is not. The thing that separates this fairly common class clash is bitter jealousy, brought along in the form of the innocent young Briony (Saoirse Ronan).
Let the Right One In Directed by: Tomas Alfredson Written by: John Ajvide Lindvist (novel & screenplay) Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragner, and Henrik Dahl.
In the age of Twilight, the once mythical mythology of the vampire has been demystified and defanged in order to appeal to tweens and easily-offended soccer moms. Thankfully Tomas Alfredson sticks it to Bella and Edward in this bloody tale of a tween boy and the vampire he befriends.
Let the Right One In is a meticulously crafted work of art. Each camera angle is deliberate in its haunting beauty, and each sentence delves deeper into the characters or the story. Nothing is wasted, a sign of a great independent filmmaker at work.
The story is kept simple, though it is filled with allegory relating to Swedish socialism. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a young boy who gets picked on at school because he is weak and timid. He has no friends until a girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves in next door and starts showing up after dark to help him solve his Rubik’s Cube. The charm of these early scenes resonate because of their simplicity and also because of the darkness that follows.