She's on the right track baby, she was born this waygush about it on my blog. James McAvoy, according to me, was flawless, the score, musical genius, the cinematography and costumes, divine. However, I’d gone into the film expecting an acting masterclass from Romola Garai, and, whilst she was indeed very good, it was the younger incarnation of her character in the film – played by blue-eyed Irish lass Saoirse Ronan that really, really impressed. Briony Tallis is one of my least favourite literary gals of all time, yet Ronan’s depiction of her, whilst capturing how annoying and meddling her character was, managed to do something that I felt Ian McEwan was unable to do in his book – humanise her. It was, I felt, the most impressive performance by a child actress of the new millennium, and I went on to wax lyrical about her acting in The Lovely Bones, which, like Atonement, was a book that I didn’t particularly care for and wasn’t even originally intending on watching, but when I heard that Ronan was cast as the lead, I just knew that I had to. I had a whole list of problems with Peter Jackson’s film, writing, somewhat bitchily, “But the problem with that is that the source material, weak as it was, was so memorable because it was so dark, and in showing us montages of pretty yellow trees and giant penguins, we’re transported to this whimsical, child-like universe. Then Jackson tries to modulate the tone to child murders. It doesn’t really sit, to be honest, and if you were to ask me and my friends if we’d rather watch this film again or get murdered, we couldn’t truthfully say we wouldn’t pick the latter”, but Ronan was a shining star. When I first walked past the poster for Hanna in the London undergrounds, I checked my walk just to give it a second look (which, if you know Londoners, you’ll understand is saying something) when I realised that it was Miss Ronan on the front. Truth be told, there’s been a few too many female assassin films in recent years for my liking, but the fact that Saoirse Ronan was starring in Hanna meant that I knew I was gonna watch it.
As with Atonement and Pride & Prejudice, the musical score is amazing. Dario Marianelli scored the former two, but his celli strings and piano surges may have been somewhat out of place in a child-hitman film, so the Chemical Brothers were employed instead, and, as with Daft Punk’s score to Tron, the aurals were so strong that it often made me forget about the pictures. One scene in particular, when Hanna is being pursued by Tom Hollander and his two not-altogether-very-effective goons near a building campsite and there’s a whole lot of running away on her part; the music is just incredible.