Movie Review: Hanna
FInally got a chance to see Hanna in the theater. I’d been excited about this film because even from the trailer I could tell there was a much different feel to it than most things out there right now. That turned out to be entirely true. Directed by Joe Wright, who is better known for period pieces like Pride and Prejudice and Atonement (which seem to use Keira Knightley clip-art on their posters), Hanna reminded me of a comic book with its action-packed storyline and intense visual imagery (like the antagonist walking out from inside the mouth of a Big Bad Wolf attraction at an amusement park in Germany). I could easily see this story told in the inked panels of a graphic novel. Maybe that’s already happened, I don’t know. In that format, though, you wouldn’t get to enjoy the killer soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers, which is the bow on top of this great package.
Hanna is the story of a teenage girl (Saoirse Ronan), raised by her father (Eric Bana), a rogue CIA agent, in the frozen wilds of Finland. Her education is more assassin training than grade school, as she’s taught to fight, hunt, and protect herself by any means necessary. Her final exam comes in the form of an assignment: take on the CIA–specifically, agent Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett). Hanna had never even interacted with anyone other than her father before this, so going out into the world on her own while maintaining the mission is the ultimate challenge. But Hanna remembers her training and does just fine. Until the details of her father’s past become clearer, and then she’s sent into a tailspin of confusion about who she really is.
This movie plays like the fairy tales that are mentioned throughout it: dark, sometimes gruesome life lessons. Bana’s role is relatively minor in the scheme of things, but he conveys the concerned, secretive father well. And Cate Blanchett is, well, Cate Blanchett. This character is a little different than most I’ve seen her play, but she brings an absolute coldness that is necessary for Marissa Weigler to properly come off the page. But the real highlight here, of course, is Saoirse Ronan, who moves between trained assassin and nervous child as skillfully as any older, more seasoned actor could.
Hanna is a nice break from all the other nonsense that I’ve seen in the theaters so far this year. Over-the-top special effects, animation, and just flat-out bad movies have dominated the box office for the past few months. And while Hanna hasn’t taken made a ton of money since its release, it certainly should have. It’s strong, straightforward filmmaking that I’d love to see more of.
The Hanna trailer: