Director Joe Wright is very capable when it comes to establishing atmosphere, as best demonstrated by the sweltering summer heat that pervades through the opening of his Oscar-nominated Atonement. He'll reunite with one of that film's stars, 16-year-old Saoirse Ronan, this spring in an appropriately bleak and literally chilling thriller, simply titled Hanna.
An international theatrical preview has been unveiled for the film and like the Hanna U.S. trailer, it paints Wright's new films as being part Bourne Identity, and part The American - i.e. a stylish arthouse drama, in this case about a disturbed adolescent who yearns to lead a life more ordinary.
Ronan plays the titular Hanna, a girl raised in the harsh wilderness of Finland and trained to be the ultimate soldier (and killer) by her father, rouge CIA agent Erik Heller (Eric Bana). Sent by her old man on a mission that will take her across Europe, Hanna gets her first taste of being a normal teenager when she briefly seeks refuge with a kind woman named Rachel (Olivia Williams) and her family - even as she's relentlessly pursued by the mysterious, flaming-haired intelligence operative Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), who has ties to Hannah's past.
While there will inevitably be comparisons made between Hanna and Hit-Girl of Kick-Ass, the former looks to be a much more realistic and grounded version of what a young girl raised as a merciless, sadistic killer would actually be like. Combine that with some lovely cinematography and Wright's new film definitely has potential to be a refreshing addition to the "assassin with a past" thriller genre (which admittedly there aren't really that many of, besides the Jason Bourne films).
Watch the international trailer for Hanna (courtesy of MSN) below:
Already an Oscar-nominee who's established herself as having a strong screen presence, Ronan looks to have nailed down the part of the blank-eyed, seemingly robotic Hanna quite well. She ranks alongside the likes of Chloe Moretz and True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld as a teenage actress who could actually have a substantial career once she's too old to play characters under age 20. While a fierce performance by Ronan and eye-catching visuals unfortunately do not guarantee that a movie will turn out great (case in point - Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones), Hanna will hopefully prove to be worth the price of admission.
Hanna hits theaters around the U.S. on April 8th, 2011.