“Hanna” is a new thriller from director Joe Wright (“The Soloist” and “Atonement”), who has worked with the young Saoirse Ronan before, but is a newcomer to directing action. Focus Features and Sony Pictures Entertainment have given Wright a stellar cast and the responsibility to do what he has never done before.
Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has been raised in the primitive forests of Finland by her ex-CIA operative father Erik Heller (Eric Bana). He has raised her to be the perfect solider and assassin, versed in hunting, fighting and killing. He sends her on a mission to hunt down and kill an intelligence officer with whom Heller has had dealings in the past. After Hanna believes she has accomplished her task, she travels across Europe on a trip to rendezvous with her father. Things don’t go as simply as expected when men are dispatched to hunt down Hanna. Along the way, she meets many interesting people and even travels with a family while they are on vacation. The longer she is out in the real world, the more she begins to realize how much she has been missing out on. As she gets closer to finding her father, she is also getting closer to discovering hard facts about herself and her life.
“Hanna” is a dramatic thriller that is a mixture of a spy thriller, a fairy tale and a chase movie. It’s shot in a way that lets you know that you are watching something uncommon in today’s movies. The angles and perspectives reminded me of Alice falling down the rabbit hole in “Alice in Wonderland.”
One of the best parts of the film is the acting; everyone does fantastic work — especially Saoirse Ronan. For her age, she carries the film quite well. The action sequences and intensity in her eyes were astounding. There were a few scenes where things she did seemed a bit unbelievable, but surprisingly, it wasn’t even the action scenes. To see her discover electricity, music and friendship really made her character relatable and enduring.
The other lead was Cate Blanchett, who sports an American accent in this film. You get to see her villainous side and how vicious she truly can be. I thought that she was a great opposite to Ronan. Eric Bana is underutilized in this film, though. After the opening scenes, he appears infrequently and I thought he could have been involved a bit more in the story. Another great performance that stood out to me was that of Jessica Barden, who played the teenage daughter of the family that Hanna befriends. She was hysterical. Other stars of the film include Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng and Michelle Dockery.
The overall feel of the movie wasn’t just an action spy film; it had slower dramatic parts, but that’s why I liked it. It wasn’t trying to just be another action film, but it really took its time to explore the story and develop its characters. Not only did it have some great action, it was also pretty funny. I laughed out loud more than once at Hanna’s bluntness when asked a question or her reaction to finding something new to experience.
The last thing I want to mention is the score. The Chemical Brothers hit a home run on this one. Each fight or chase scene has its own theme and feel to it, but they all get the blood pumping and really take the excitement and danger up a notch. The first thing I did when I got home was get the full album and put it on my iPod, so I definitely recommend you get it as well.
While this is a great film, I can see it not being for everybody. People who can’t handle it when movies slow down for story might not be able to enjoy this one very much, but overall I would say that anyone who can handle a little killing and violence should head right down to the theaters and see this film.
“Hanna” — which opens in theaters today — is rated PG-13 for some intense sequences of violence, action, some sexual material and language.
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