Hanna is a thriller about a young girl with enhanced abilities, a life of training, and the will to survive. In this Joe Wright film we get to see what is supposed to be a mix of a character story with an action movie that tells a tale of a girl trying to survive. The movie sports a solid cast lead by Eric Bana, Cate Blanchette, Tom Hollander, and Saoirse Ronan. What sets this movie apart from most action thrillers is that it has a very indie feel to it which makes for some interesting results. Can Hanna successfully mix a character drama, an action thriller, and a very unique filming style to make a great film or does the film lack a clear focus because it tries too hard to mix so many different elements?
Hanna starts in the winter wastes of Finland. Hanna(Saoirse Ronan) is all alone with her father Erik (Eric Bana) who has apparently been educating her and teaching her several skills such as sharpshooting, linguistics, and cooking. Essentially he is training her to survive. Erik eventually show Hanna a beacon that he tells her she can activate whenever she is ready, but once it is active she will be on the run her whole life. Eventually she does activate it and then the film reveals a government agent Marissa(Cate Blanchette) who spends all her resources to look for Erik. Erik leaves Hanna alone in the cabin they were living in and explained to her that they were to meet in another location. The government discovers Hanna in the cabin and takes her hostage. While they are interrogating Hanna; she goes into kill mode and breaks out of the government facility and kills anything that gets in her way. After breaking out she discovers a family with a daughter younger than her. Eventually Hanna begins traveling with the family while she is on the run from the government. The movie unfolds from this point delivering some interesting character developments and quite a bit of action.
The thing I really like about this film over almost anything else is the character of Hanna when she is trying to hide in society.when she first meets the family she feels very awkward and confused. She had never seen anyone other than her father Erik so it was extremely odd for her to blend in with everyone else. When she first arrives at a hotel and sees simple technology like a tea pot, a TV, and fan she begins to freak out because she has never seen any of those things before. I actually found it funny when she played with the lights when she had a chance. After being used to candles light switches were very foreign to her. I think director Joe Wright and actress Saoirse Ronan should be applauded for how they handled these scenes showing how foreign the modern world is to Hanna. The scenes are made very interesting and believable. It is so funny to see the girl who is very educated and has advanced training in martial arts can’t even figure out what makes a girl her own age think. These scenes between her and the family or her and normal people are quite funny in a sort of awkward humor type of way. All of these scenes make up my favorite part of the movie
The thing that bothers me about Hanna that may or may not bother other viewers is the very odd film editing style. It is different for sure which I would say does give it a unique feel to it, but at the same time I don’t always think that some of the edits work. Many times when coming out of this odd editing style things don’t look quite right and I also think that many of these edits make it hard to follow what is going on. Aside from the editing I found the main storyline to be a little weak. Anytime the film shifted from Hanna trying to fit in with the world and make her way to her destination to the government agent and her hired help trying to find her I lost interest. I found the character to Marissa to be weak(not helped by Cate Blanchette’s rather subpar performance). The only thing I liked about the scenes that focused on the people hunting Hanna was seeing Tom Hollander play the slightly over the top bad guy. It wasn’t the things he did or even the way he acted that made him over the top, but just his very awkward way in which his character fit in. For instance there was one scene when he was hunting Hanna that he is walking around holding a gun to kill, but also wearing short-shorts. I found it to be pretty funny. Aside from that I found the entire main plot lacking and the other characters involved in the main plot lacking. I loved watching Hanna and I even liked watching her father Erik, but other than that I really wasn’t interested in what was happening. One last thing I will note is that I really like the music in the movie, but I found quite a bit of the placement for the music to be out of place. There were times when music would have been nice and nothing was playing and other times when people are doing something simple like walking and music starts blaring. This is just part of my personal taste, but I found it oddly placed.
Overall Hanna was a cool movie that had some very interesting character work and what I felt like was a weak plot. A lot of my problems with the movie are probably just personal taste as the movie was very well made and I respect what the film was trying to due. The only truly weak thing about the movie was Cate Blanchette who delivered one of the weakest performances I’ve ever seen her in. She could not maintain her accent and she could not pull off the character enough for me to get what her true motives were. I mean I knew what they were, but I never felt like her character was truly interested in what was happening. Aside from her I could definitely recommend this film to people interested in spy movies, indie movies, or thrillers.
The setting is fairly interesting but the main plot fails to be as interesting as the characters that fill it. The pacing is a little weird and there are things in the film that are never fully realized.The entire story involving the government is weak and lacks depth.
Joe Wright does a great job at portraying a vision he had for the film. The look and cinematography of the film are both excellent. The only thing that bothers me about his direction is the placement of music and very odd editing.
Aside from Cate Blanchette and her Character Marissa the film is filled with intriguing characters that are all well acted. Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Tom Hollander all give great performances. The character of Hanna and how she has to meet and blend into society plays out rather interestingly with new discoveries around each corner.
Overall Effectiveness of the Film: 7.5
The film manages to have plenty of action but also plenty of time with the characters. The film never gets too slow although it does drag a bit in a couple of spots. In the end I think that the film is well enough that if you’re a fan of the style of the movie you’ll like it and it you’re not you’ll be like me and find the film to be well done but not great. This is one of the times where I think it comes down to personal taste.
Overall Score: 7.0