Movie Review Rewind: Hanna (2011)
Hanna is a European revenge thriller with a twist that features a teenage girl as a secret assassin. Director Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist) changes gender and age for the main character and it makes a total difference in the mood and tone of the film. It is a cool, refreshing perspective on what a highly trained, deadly killer can be and look like. Hanna looks nothing like Jason Bourne from the Bourne trilogy, but each of them can kick ass in their own way. They are practically in the same profession.
Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) lives deep in the snow-covered woods of Finland with her father and ex-CIA agent Erik (Eric Bana). Hanna has never had a normal childhood. Actually, she has never had anything remotely close to a childhood. Her father has been raising and training her not as a child, but as a soldier. Her strength, intelligence, and speed are just some of her characteristics that she has been able to gain and build upon thanks to her father. Once she is ready, she is sent on a mission to find and kill Marissa (Cate Blanchett), a cold-blooded intelligence agent who has been searching for Hanna and her father. This begins a journey across Europe for Erik and Hanna while being chased by Marissa and agents who abide by no rules.
Hanna offers so much of everything you love and expect from a film. It is exciting and has great action fight scenes that are quick and brutal. At the same time, the film is about a girl who is on a search of discovery. She is trying to discover who she is and what the real world really is. Hanna has been sheltered for all of her young life, and now she has to put her training and instincts to the test. Hanna takes you on a ride unlike any other, and captures your attention from the very beginning and holds on to it all the way through.
Ronan is an amazing actress and takes command of this film. Her abilities are terrific and we have seen that in films like Atonement and The Lovely Bones, but in this film she takes the lead. She plays a girl who has never been able to be just a kid. She has been secluded from the world and once she is released in it, it is like a wild animal breaking out of the zoo and into the streets of civilization. Not only does she have to get familiar with society, but she has people chasing her through it. And, everyone involved has secrets and the process of finding out who is hiding what is part of the mystery and fun of Hanna.
The supporting cast is spectacular. Bana playing Hanna’s father is almost perfect. He used to work for the CIA, and if anyone can teach Hanna some deadly traits, it’s him. Then there is Blanchett. Never have I seen her so ruthless and evil. And in just like everything she does, she plays it to the fullest. Both of these characters have a past with each other and as it begins to come to light, we see why they want each other dead and why Hanna is in the middle of it. And Bana and Blanchett play these characters with intelligence and depth. No matter whose side you are on, the audience understands where they stand and why.
What can I say about Hanna that I haven’t said already? Wright made an action/spy thriller more than just an action/spy thriller. Hanna is a central character that has not been seen on-screen either in a long time or ever. And the performance by Ronan is nothing short of spectacular. And that doesn’t mean that Blanchett and Bana weren’t, but Ronan holds her own in this film. With the direction and vision of Wright, Hanna is a beautiful, slick, stylish film with energy and heart. It is certainly one of the best films of the year so far.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.