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3. HANNA

Director: Joe Wright
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett
With Hanna, English director Joe Wright pulled off the year’s biggest one-eighty. Prior to this Saoirse Ronan-starring mind-blower, about a young girl groomed to be an assassin who goes rogue, Wright’s credits included such stuffy costume dramas as Pride & Prejudice and Atonement; not for one second did he give off the impression of being capable of totally killing a punk rock remix of the Bourne Identity motif.

Fueled by a truly badass Chemical Brothers score, Hanna is an action flick for the art-house crowd, equipped with off-kilter camera angles, a nihilistic edge, some unexpectedly haunting imagery, and a bravura performance from Ronan. Petite and angelic-looking, she’s an inspired choice to play a one-gal wrecking crew who’s proficient in both hand-to-hand combat and gunplay, thanks to lifelong assassin's training.

Wright gets the most out of Ronan’s physicality, combining his inventive direction and her fight skills into a hypnotically visceral sequence set within a vast container park—it’s the crowning achievement in a film that’s loaded with brilliant execution. Here’s to Wright never picking up another Jane Austen novel.

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