Directed by: Joe Wright. I love watching a movie I know next to nothing about, where it ends up being actually a really solid movie. As soon as I finished it, I thought it was one of the best films I’d ever seen. In the sober light of morning, I relaxed my stance a bit: Hanna is certainly one of the 20 best films I’ve seen this year, but ultimately not particularly groundbreaking or anything. Still, this film feels really fresh. It’s a story I’ve never seen before, and a refreshingly uncondescending take on the young-girl-kicks-ass story that we seem to be taking as feminism these days. The notion of a 13-or-whatever-year-old girl performing Bruce Lee-level martial arts and laying waste to entire squads of strong men—as well as the odd casual murder!—in this movie doesn’t seem quirky or cute or whatever the hell Kick Ass was supposed to be. (I haven’t seen it, but please correct me if I’m missing the subtle layers of that intellectual gem.) The entire notion that Hanna was engineered and trained to be a perfect killer—without ever really even acknowledging, much less making a big deal out of, her gender—is not the end point of the film, but simply one of the ingredients informing her character development (admittedly, the most striking ingredient). I suppose that beneath the simple chase story that informs the majority of the suspense, is a pretty familiar betrayal story—the faceless, unethical shadowy militaristic government spy agency was playing God and they lied to her about it, and now she’s pissed off!…Okay, I get it. But it’s still awesome. The young Saoirse Ronan is completely great, and I hope she has a long career ahead of her. Cate Blanchett is awesome as usual, and Eric Bana does his intense/suave thing perhaps even better than in Munich. I really love the stark, cold cinematography here from Alwin H. Küchler—it complements the dialogue, the story, the performances and the general tone to give this film a very distinctly harsh yet somehow comforting feel. This is like a Cold War movie, but for kids because it’s about childhood. I don’t know, I think I should stop now and let this percolate a bit more. Maybe it’s just a write-off action shlock-fest hiding beneath some cool cinematography, and I’m just wooed by the initial shots of freezing Arctic wasteland, which always seem to be the key to my cinematic heart. Either way, I dig this movie.