I must say that Saoirse Rona is quite the discovery. After being nominated for a Best Supporting Actress in Joe Wright’s Atonement, she re-teams with the director to play the title role in Hanna. Rounding out the main cast are Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, who both deliver fantastic performances, in this thriller.
Hanna is the story of well, a girl named Hanna. Growing up in the forest with her father Erik (Eric Bana), she learns from him how to hunt, how to fight, and how to kill, because Erik is a former intelligence agent, who has gone off the grid. Life is well for Hanna and Erik, as Hanna learns the encyclopedic knowledge her father imparts to her, until one day Hanna grows up, and presses “the button”, announcing their presence to the intelligence world with a transponder her father had burried in the woods. Hanna and Erik now begin their mission; to kill the woman responsible for the death of Hanna’s mother, Marissa Wiegler (Blanchett). The mission Erik has been training Hanna for her entire life. As the two split up, Hanna is captured, and questioned about Erik’s whereabouts. Soon her training kicks in, and Hanna kicks ass. Thinking she has killed Wiegler (when in fact she killed an agent posing as Wiegler) Hanna makes her escape from an underground base. She soon discovers she is in Morocco and sets about making for her rendezvous with Erik in Berlin. Of course, a simple European vacation is not in the cards, as assassin teams are dispatched to recapture Hanna, and eliminate anyone she has any connection to.
Making her way to the final showdown with Wiegler, Hanna experiences worlds she has never known due to her isolated upbringing. She experiences electricity, makes friends with a travelling British family on vacation, meets a boy (whose neck she almost snaps as he tries to kiss her), uses the Internet and discovers a little bit of both who and what she is. I must say that Olivia Williams as the mother of the vacationing family was a treat to see again, as I really liked her performance in Ghost Writer.
The film has several energetically filmed chase and action sequences, with lots of quick cuts and spinning; almost kaleidoscopic camera shots; that match up with a terrific soundtrack brought to life by The Chemical Brothers. The pacing was a little slow at first, but what it lacked in action, it made up for with intrigue, and a few minor plot holes. The film references Grimm’s Fairy Tales both directly (the climax occurs at a Grimm themed children’s park) and indirectly (As Hanna mails a postcard to her father telling him “the witch is dead”). Even Hanna’s physical appearance seems inspired by fairy tales as she has a very unique, elven-look. Hanna is the kind of action film that comes around every once in a while that really values it’s characters, but also demonstrates some great action pieces, amid the fantastic scenery of her trek across Europe.
To sum up, Hanna is reminiscent of such films as The Professional, and while the idea of the movie isn’t exactly ground breaking, but the way it was filmed, the soundtrack, casting and acting set Hanna apart from the rest.