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April 9, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

To paraphrase the common cliché: You reads your critics and you takes your choice. Either Hanna is an intelligent top-of-the-line thriller, or its a pretentious over-the-top deceit — the critics are divided almost equally. Among those praising it is Roger Ebert, who writes in the Chicago Sun-Times: “Hanna is good, sound filmmaking. It depends on stylistic order and discipline, a clear story map and ingenious action sequences. It is not all banging and flashing.” Michael O’Sullivan in the Washington Post remarks that director Joe Wright “has come up with one heck of an excuse to go to the multiplex,” creating “a classic popcorn movie, subclassification: chase flick. Eat with one hand, because you’ll need the other to hang on to your seat.” Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel observes that the film is “alternately nerve-wracking and funny,” making for “a thriller that is every bit as ruthessly efficient and merciless as its titular heroine.” The 16-year-old actress who plays that heroine, Saoirse Ronan, is being acclaimed for her performance even by critics who fault the movie as a whole. Ty Burr in the Boston Globe praises her “spooky, tightrope walk of a performance” as Hanna, even as he remarks that Wright has “overdirected” the movie, which, he says, is “made with a self-importance the story itself doesn’t warrant.” Scott Bowles in USA Today praises Ronan as “a deft acress who is one of the few youngsters capable of pulling off action with acting.” But the film itself, he says, is merely “an action wannabe.” Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the 16-year-old “has remarkable thinking eyes and a serious actor’s intelligence.” However, he says, the movie “ is no smarter than any other run-of-the-mill cinematic death fest, just grimmer, bleaker and sadder.” And Manohla Dargis in the New York Times comments that Ronan’s “eerie, translucent blue eyes” seem “transformed into opaque pools.” However, she adds, “That they don’t reveal much is part of the big surprise as well as a liability in a movie that is by turns startling and generic, subtle and blunt, and consistently keeps you in its grip if not its heart.”