IFTA winner Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones, The Way Back) has been receiving plaudits from critics across the Pacific for her latest role in Joe Wright’s high octane action thrill, ‘Hanna’. The Carlow born actress plays the title role, a young girl trained by her father to be a ruthless killing machine. The Hollywood Reporter has called her performance ”exceptional” whilst Variety praises her ”spirited” take on the role.
In the film Saoirse’s Hanna is a teenage girl with the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a soldier; these come from being raised in the wilds of Finland by her father, played by Eric Bana (The Time Traveller’s Wife), an ex-CIA man. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. Sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative played by Cate Blanchett (Veronica Guerin).
Film reviewer for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy describes Saoirse’s performance in the pursuit thriller as “exceptional” and compares her very favourably with her Oscar winning co-star Cate Blanchett, saying: “There's little question that Ronan could eventually inherit Blanchett's mantle, so strikingly similar are their looks and excess of talent.”
Todd further lauds Saoirse’s command of the role, saying that Saoirse responds to the physical demands of the film “with the same absolute focus she brings to every other aspect of this demanding role, as she expresses intelligence, mental and physical resourcefulness, a bright-eyed curiosity about everything she's seeing in the world for the first time, and an abiding aloneness.”
Variety’s Justin Chang praises both Saoirse’s acting skills and dedication in the pre-production stages of the production: “In addition to the martial-arts training she undertook for the role, Ronan, as spirited here as she was in "Atonement," endows the character with emotional and moral dimensions that the film, even at its most preposterous, takes seriously,” he notes.
The film, which is being distributed by Focus Features, goes on release in the U.S. on April 8th and will open in Ireland on May 6th. Stay tuned for IFTN’s interview with Saoirse about ‘Hanna’ and other projects in the coming weeks - in the meantime, check out the movie's trailer below.