Hanna – Review

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“Hanna” starring the very brilliant Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), Eric Bana (Erik Heller) and Cate Blanchett (Marissa Wiegler) is a first-rate action thriller about a youthful female assassin brought to us by director Joe Wright (“Atonement”). Its underlying message draws on the negatives surrounding home schooling. It can be regarded as the thinking person’s Kick-Ass. Saoirse Ronan takes on a difficult role and smashes it with as much confidence as she did in “Atonement,” and “The Lovely Bones” in which she played much different characters.

 

I recommend seeing “Hanna” if you enjoyed the story of “Leon” aka “The Professional” and the creative/exciting action sequences of “The Matrix”.

The film begins superbly, with the young teenager Hanna practicing how to survive and kill in the wild, with the help of her strict yet loving father Erik Heller. The Australian and young Irish actors both have well developed German accents in the film, but in the beginning both characters live near the Arctic Circle. The DOP has done a stunning job gathering the beauty of this landscape.

 

Gradually most, not all, of the details surrounding this father – daughter team become clear. Hanna has been taught advanced and ruthless killing skills as a means of self-defense against powerful enemies. Her father, Erik, fears for her safety and his own. He is apparently an agent whose skills and knowledge are so formidable that a CIA officer named Marissa (Blanchett) is obsessed with capturing both him and the child.

When Hanna decides she is ready for the real world the two of them plunge back into a deadly confrontation with the CIA. It is here the audience begins to receive a skilful cross between a sad fairy tale and a high-tech action film. What many directors may have fumbled Joe Wright has combined two genres into an elegant exercise that perversely includes some sentiment and insight.

The audience is forced to contemplate how hard it is to be the young antagonist. You have never known anyone your own age nor even met a woman. You speak several languages fluently, including German, English, Arabic, Spanish and Italian. You are the master of martial arts and proficient at multiple weapons. Your dad has drilled you to memorise every word in an encyclopedia. Consequently you are overloaded with facts but have no real knowledge, at all, of the outside world.Image

 

Unlike other films surrounding highly trained lethal children Hanna has a great deal more to say. There is definitely a sensational combination between wit and the visual poetry of action. However it does not promote Hanna’s form of upbringing in the slightest. The constant struggle between all that she factually knows compared to the general everyday human behaviours that she lacks, constantly reminds us of the difficulties the young teen is continually going to face. 

Cate Blanchett gives an amazing performance that at times feels odd and slightly awkward. She allows little humanity into her Marissa which works perfectly as a more human Marissa would introduce tones that might not fit. Her objective is to use all means necessary to capture and essential kill both father and daughter. Tom Hollander’s performance as the sadistic and at time comical ‘Isaacs’, one of Marissa’s minions, is absolutely superb. 

It is my humble opinion that “Hanna” is fun, energetic and intelligent film making at it’s finest. It depends on stylistic order and discipline, a clear story map and ingenious action sequences. It is not all banging and flashing action with moral and emotional holes. There are a number of stunningly artistic scenes that are truly unforgettable.

All in all I give it… 8/10

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