In the action thriller Hanna, Saoirse Ronan claims her identity as a dispassionate hunter and secret agent. Joe Wright directs.
Tremendous work by Ronan
Ronan also starred as the wide-eyed dead girl of The Lovely Bones and young Briony in Atonement, stars as the dispassionate hunter.
Hanna lives near the Arctic Circle with her fugitive spy dad Erik (Eric Bana of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Munich). She speaks German, Italian, Spanish and Arabic. She can hunt, shoot, track, gut a deer for dinner and evade capture.
Hanna has been genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier. But anyone who thinks for themselves and tries to do what is right might upset the natural order of things.
Enter it-rhymes-with-witch CIA operative Marissa Wiegler (devastating Cate Blanchett).
Wright (Atonement; The Soloist) explores what makes us human in a techno-human world. He succeeds as Hanna achieves more depth than the usual action film. She’s a secret agent with soul.
An honorable quest
Approaching womanhood, Hanna tells dad she’s ready to leave their cozy cabin. This will mean flipping the switch of a device that will bring special forces swooping down upon them.
Hanna will have to use everything she’s learned to protect herself and avenge her mother’s killer – guess who?
Wiegler considers Hanna and her rogue asset father threatening to national security (we’re not told why). She dispatches teams of assassins to pursue both father and daughter. Tom Hollander plays creepy, whistling Isaacs.
Kung Fu wonder
Displaying impressive fighting skills on the run, Ronan (just 16 at the time of filming) reveals vulnerability and the soul of wonder.
“What does music feel like?” she asks the whimsical, grisled proprietor of an abandoned Grimms theme park. The Chemical Brothers provide innovative, Euro-metal soundtrack.
An interlude with a hippie family driving their van through Morocco and Spain allows Hanna to explore relatively normal life and social relationships.
Hanna goes on a date. Her first kiss is not like anything you’d expect. Her talkative, tender friend Sophie (Jessica Barden) calls her a freak.
Desperate to fit in while embracing her wild strength, Hanna’s reunion with dad becomes a wildcat confrontation. Bana is manly-cool in the scene and during a number of chases and hand-to-hand tussles.
Seth Lochhead and David Farr penned this energetic screenplay. Cinematographer Alwin Kuchler is both fluid and frenetic with widescreen framing. Sarah Greenwood lends beautiful production design.
Hanna has been trained to kill when necessary, but wants to stop. More touching than Angelina Jolie in SALT, Ronan approaches superhero status as she stands in her power. (4.5 out of 5 stars)
If you like Hanna, you might enjoy: The Lovely Bones; Red Riding Hood.
Hanna 2011 / PG-13 / 1 hour, 51 mins
Cast Overview: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Jessica Barden
Director: Joe Wright
Genre: Action Thriller, Adventure, Mystery