Director: Joe Wright
Writer: David Farr, Seth Lochhead
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana
Country: Germany, UK, US
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Time: 111 minutes
Genre: Action, Thriller
USA Release: 4/8/2011
On DVD (USA): 9/6/2011
If you think your parents are tough and won’t give you any freedom you should try being Hanna for a day. Hanna has grown up in the middle of nowhere for 16 years, the only human contact has been her father and she is soon about to learn something about the world that her father could not prepare her for. This film from the director of films such as “Pride and Prejudice”(nominated for 4 Oscars) and “Atonement” (nominated for 6 Oscars, winning 1 for Best Original Score) has gone from period pieces to a full fledged action film. But can this Golden Globe Nominated director keep us interested on the story as well as the action? Let us sit back and gaze with wonder.
In “Hanna” we meet Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan) a 16 year-old girl who has been training her whole life in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Unlike the average teen of today, she knows nothing about the real world, only learning what she can from books and her father Erik (Eric Bana). After all this time Hanna finally tells her father that she is ready but he seems unconvinced until he brings back a box with a transceiver. With this receiver once the switch is turned on Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), the woman Hanna has trained her whole life to face can find her. After thinking about it she flips the switch knowing there is no turning back, soon she is left alone to be taken into custody. After successfully completing her task, she is then thrust into a world she knows nothing about. While Hanna is experiencing life and the world, she meets a family traveling and stays with them, learning what a true family is like and also learns more about herself, although it was something she was suppose to never know. While Hanna is exploring, Marissa Wiegler is drawing closer to finding her and her father with the help of Isaacs (Tom Hollander) who is sadistic and relaxes all at the same time. And soon Isaacs is hot on Hanna’s trail forcing her to leave the family she has now put in danger so as to save their lives. Now Hanna is left to face not only her enemies but also a truth that she was never meant to know about herself.
“Hanna” is much more than the awesome action movie the trailer shows it to be. It’s also something of a very unique coming-of-age story about a girl finding out who she really is under strange circumstances. And also how far a government agent will go to get a hold of someone. Hanna’s whole life she has only known one thing for certain and that was Marissa Wiegler must be killed, the rest of the world she only knows from the books her father has. Although Joe Wright is known for Drama/Period Drama he has stepped out of I guess you could say his comfort zone and made this astonishing film. He brought together an amazing cast and crew that together made it a remarkable picture to not only watch but to listen to. Someone also stepping in to new shoes was The Chemical Brothers who brought their music to the world of motion pictures (scoring the entire film), using their music that’s as distinctive as the film itself to heighten every scene and making it even more enjoyable. As was the Cinematography done by Alwin H. Kuchler, who’s use of locations was just another thing to add atop of the uniqueness of this film along with his camera angles and use of color such as the scene in Mr. Grimes house. Jeff Imada who was the fight choreographer & stunt coordinator did an amazing job, which is something I knew with ease before walking in to see this because of his previous work on “The Book of Eli” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” and I wasn’t disappointed. With Imada and Kuchler’s work together they made the fight scenes look like anyone could do it, and isn’t that the whole point?.
Although Cate Blanchett did an superb job as Marissa Wiegler, it was a bit distracting for me when she spoke because she seemed to have a hard time keeping her southern accent, many times I noticed her not even using it. As for Wiegler’s right hand man Isaacs played by Tom Hollender, he was one of the best things about this film, his whole persona was spot on, the best bad guy I’ve seen since Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds” just like Waltz, Hollender’s Isaacs was patient and relaxed but also very sadistic, using a harmless childlike song to whistle while doing everything. It seem that every character we come across in the film is strange and unusual, maybe showing us that there is really no such thing as normal. Even when we do meet a “normal” family that it traveling though the area on vacation, there still is something different about them, but in comparison to how Hanna has been brought up they are extremely for a better word, normal. For Hanna though they are almost a barrier, something to connect with the world through, and shows her more of how a real family interact with one another. As for her family, her father played by Eric Bana has almost 2 personalities one being the paternal and more sensitive mostly when they are inside, where as the other is the drill sergeant, this one is seen only outside while in training. Even though they are in this unusual environment and circumstances he still goes through the same emotions as a normal father would. Making Eric Bana’s performance really great especially since we don’t see him as much as the other characters. Before this movie we had 2 major butt-kicking teen female characters Natalie Portman’s Mathilda in “Leon: The Professional” and Chloe Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl in “Kick-Ass”, but I’m sorry to say that Saoirse Ronan’s Hanna has beat out both for the top spot. Ronan has created a character that’s beyond Mathilda or any other female teen action charater. Unlike the other characters who were born and raised (for a little while) in a normal environment only to later get put in circumstances that later make them that way. Hanna on the other hand was born and raised to fight, training her whole life to kill. She was made to be the ultimate killing machine. But after being thrown into a new environment she evolves from her killer instinct to almost a Bambi-like quality. Much of how Rapunzel is in “Tangled” she thought she knew her life, only to see that everything she knows is a lie.
Overall with this interesting story and amazing cast, this could possibly be called this generations “Leon: The Professional” bringing together a group that have put together a high action movie with a story that is much more heart then you initial perceive it to be. Saoirse Ronan has crafted an amazing character that although trained to be a killer has much more to offer the world, if given the chance.