Friday, 10 June 2011

'Hanna' Film Review

I was instantly engrossed by the movie the moment I saw the trailer and it was exactly as I thought it would be if not more. Kudos to Joe Wright, who is also behind the films 'Atonement' and 'Pride and Prejudice'.

Trained in the wilds of Sweden, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is sent by her father (Eric Bana) to kill corrupt CIA agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett). When she is ready, she sets off a signal which leads to her capture by Marissa. Taken to a Moroccan safe house, Hanna asks to speak to Marissa, but instead a decoy is sent to her. Hanna kills the decoy and escapes, following her father's orders to meet up with him in Berlin.

Trouble follows her as she makes her way to Berlin and she discovers that there is far more to her existence than she first expected, influencing the way she sees the world and others. Is she truly ready for the world she has been so sheltered from all her life?


Hanna, at first feels like a regular chase thriller, like Bourne or Salt, with a heart racing and dramatically choreographed escape sequence early in the movie putting it into that genre. This scene, the lighting, the music (by the Chemical Brothers)- it was sheer movie perfection. 

A lot of the time, Hanna is running around, which seems unoriginal for the genre, but behind her running to meet her father is a story of self discovery and of growing up. As she makes her first friend, experiences her first kiss and discovers her own secrets, the personality of Hanna and her character comes through. The film poses a good question as to whether Hanna is who she is by what she is told and what she is told to do (the cold and heartless assassin) or defined by the innocence within her, a soft, caring 'friend' and loyal 'daughter' evidently pokes through at certain points.

As the plot develops, there are themes that come through making this a far deeper and more artistic movie. The ideas of genetically engineered babies, the emotional existence of such a child, the relationship between Hanna and her 'father'... all the while referencing fairy tales, with the ending set in the abandoned fairground Spreepark, heightening the dramaticism of this artistic direction... all this subtly expressed in an exciting action rich movie that anyone can enjoy.

Saoirse Ronan- Hanna
Eric Bana- Erik
Cate Blanchett- Marissa

Also stars Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams and Jessica Barden (still the same girl from Tamara Drewe).

Saoirse Ronan is definitely making a name for herself and this performance as Hanna is perhaps her best thus far. She is extremely believable as the cold and heartless killer she is trained to be, but a warm and friendly 'normal teenager' shines through also as she is put through an emotional journey of self discovery and growing up. 

Whilst Eric Bana continues to look super fit and muscular in those slightly forced (and to be honest, unnecessary) topless scenes, his acting unfortunately does not shine through (he can kick ass though), whereas Cate Blanchett is stunning as the evil Marissa. Somewhat reminiscent of her Indiana Jones' role, Cate Blanchett plays manipulative and cold hearted very well.

As a standalone film, it leaves you desperately wanting for more and there's almost not enough time to connect with Hanna's deep emotional journey, her history, the background. However, the artistic element and fairytale themes found in this movie works for a single film as it would be difficult to continue without it feeling forced.

There is so much more to this story that could lead on to multiple films. I see the beginning of a new 'Bourne-esque" franchise with the character of Hanna at the core, though with so many important characters dead and gone, it leaves me wondering how story will continue. I'm not here for prequels. 

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