Directed by Joe Wright
A man lives in the woods with his adopted daughter whom he has been training since a young age to be the perfect assassin to go after one woman that wishes them both dead.
Saoirse Ronan (Hanna) did an amazing job here given her age at the time. It would have been an amazing job at any age but here she successfully played a stone-cold killer who is also a young woman. I give her a great deal of credit here. She is as intimidating as any adult actor would have been.
Ronan gets bonus points for not confusing “cold” with “robotic.” The character of Hanna is most definitely cold, but Ronan does not perform her stiffly as actors often do. And in this performance she is also able to give a certain attachment and even a bit of feeling towards the character’s relationship with Erik (Eric Bana) without making her more than cold.
Erik is very much a worried father here. He has been preparing his daughter for years knowing that whether he prepared her or not the confrontation was inevitable. The choice when it happens is hers but it is clear he would rather the day never come.
Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) is pure evil. She is cold and calculating and perhaps as unfeeling as she hopes her creation Hanna would be. She is more than willing to bend and twist the truth and will stop at nothing to cover up the last bit of evidence of her clandestine program.
This is a bad ass action film with a unique spin. Normally in an action film any children present just follow along with the adult hero but here all the action and the fighting are focused on the child and the adult is almost secondary. This was a bold creative choice because if they had not cast someone who was capable it would have all fallen apart.
This is a weird and slightly surreal film that feels almost like some kind of dark fairytale. This fairytale aspect is played up in the end as they battle through the abandoned amusement. The soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers is only adds to that fairytale feeling. It has a weird dream like vibe that flows through every note.
Hanna also comes of age in a manner of speaking. For her entire life she had lived in the woods with her father only knowing the world through books and not experience. She was completely isolated from others as he trained her and groomed her to be ready to take on the film’s villain. She had to finally move from what was her childhood and her safety to fulfilling her destiny and an uncertain future beyond that.
Hanna also wants to be out in the real world and do the one mission which will set her free to do so. And when she gets out among people and begins to experience things you can see her learning and at times feeling joy and wonder at doing what we take for granted. The scene on the back of the scooter communicates such joy.
Hanna is a very creative and cunning thinker. She is a predator. She disarms her opponents by playing into their perception of her as a weak child. In fact, her first human kill and escape is built upon this.
This is a great thriller. There is not too much padding during the course of the story. Everything goes to the narrative and character development. You get a real sense of Erik’s fear and desire to protect his daughter as well as Hanna’s personal growth.
Hanna is a great film that does not seem to get the attention it should. I do not hear it often get talked about. If you find this give it a look. You will not be disappointed. It is an edge of your seat thriller that will keep you hooked until the very end.