HANNA – The Review
Those darn pesky secret organizations. They always seem to be on the hunt for people or creatures that just want to be left alone. From E.T. and D.A.R.Y.L. to last month’s alien comedy PAUL, they’re constantly barking into communication devices while just steps behind their quarry. This time they’re after what looks to be a normal teenage girl. But in this case looks are very deceiving. The heroine in Joe Wright’s follow-up to his ATONEMENT, HANNA ( played by Saoirse Ronan ) is so much more than normal.
We first meet her as she tracks a moose through the frozen forests of Finland. After an arrow fails to finish off the beast, she follows the wounded animal. Suddenly Hanna’s attacked by a large man. They fight in the snow. After he departs, Hanna pulls out a gun to finish off the moose. She then skins and guts it, and drags the meat back to an isolated cabin deep in the woods. There she’s greeted by the man who attacked her earlier in the day. It is her father Erik ( Eric Bana ). He tests her on her knowledge of countries and cities and has her repeat a false past history for herself. She’s awakened later for an impromptu self defence lesson. He’s training her for what? Later Erik tells her that she is ready to leave when she wants. After he leaves the cabin, Hanna pulls out a case, opens it, and turns a switch which makes a light begin to blink. She looks down at the homing devices and says, ” Find me.” Immediately at an underground surveillance facility a technician sees the light appear on a screen. He makes the call to a supervisor, Marissa ( Cate Blanchett ) who gives the order for a retrieval. Erik returns, sees the blinking light, and, after telling her that they will reunite, leaves. Later an armed squadron surrounds the cabin. After many of them are killed by the solitary girl, she is taken to the secret underground headquarters. But Hanna cannot be held very long. Soon she escapes through the desert, befriends a vacationing British family, and tries to make her way to Berlin while Marissa and her underlings are in hot pursuit. Will Hanna see her father again?
HANNA has all of the required action stunts of many film chases thrillers, but it has a much more complex back story than most. The many scenes of quiet character study make the bursts of violence very powerful. Wright has a talented cast for this complex, spy chase caper. Ronan’s HANNA is almost a blank slate. All her life has been in training for this, so she’s fascinated when she discovers electric light, plumbing, television, and a typical teenage girl. Bana’s teacher/ father cannot hide his affection for her even as he trains her to become the ultimate assassin. Of course a film like this requires a strong villain and Blanchett’s Marissa is a great villainess. This pursuit has upset her well-ordered life and at one point she takes out her frustrations while going through her intense nightly dental hygiene routine. The only thing that slows down the pace is the scenes with Hanna trying to relate to the normal family on holiday although Olivia Williams is very good as the ex-bohemian mother. Some great location work around the globe and expert photography help make HANNA a superior action film for moviegoers that want something more than car stunts and nonstop explosions.
Overall Rating: Four Out of Five Stars