Lowdown: A girl trained to kill is set out by her father to kill a rogue (?) CIA agent.
Want Hanna summarized in one sentence? Here you go: Hanna is a modern action film that’s told in a fairytale kind of a way. That really is all there is to it; the rest is just fine details.
We meet our girl Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) and her father (Eric Banna) as they live out in the middle of a snowy wilderness, fending for themselves and totally disconnected from civilization. The father tells Hannah about the world that’s out there, but Hanna herself never experienced it first hand; she heard the dictionary definition but she doesn’t even know what music is. All Hannah does, all day and all night, is hone her killer skills.
Next we meet CIA agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett), our baddie for the duration of the film. She has a thing for Bana and his daughter, and when Bana tells his daughter she’s ready to be unleashed to this world and achieve the goal of eliminating Marissa a clash is inevitable. This clash is what the film Hanna is all about, and it includes many dead bodies thrown in as well as Hanna getting her first real contact with the real world through her bumping upon a British family camping out at Morocco.
Altogether, Hanna brings with it a James Bond like tale of international treachery and shootings that is told in a fairytale like manner. The fairytale aspect comes out through the Cinderella like story where Blanchett clearly is the evil stepmother. Mostly, though, it comes through the very stylized filmmaking at hand: the cinematography, the atypically long cuts in this day and age of fast editing, and the sets that often directly include fairytale elements. Style is probably the most important theme Hanna has to offer, and that style is probably best attributed to director Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement): one can clearly see this person directorial background in Hanna. The best way of putting it is saying it is clear this is not a director whose background is in making films like Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Yes, Hanna does not suffer from too much depth. What it does have to offer instead is lots of smart action, something the bulk of today’s action films sorely miss. It’s funny to see what a difference an intelligent director can make!
I cannot finish this review off without mentioning the exquisite soundtrack The Chemical Brothers have provided Hanna with. In my opinion, this one is reminiscent of the masterful soundtrack that Daft Punk came up with for Tron Legacy. Both gain a lot by being included in real high quality Blu-rays.
Notable scene: The best demonstration of the style over substance nature of Hanna is provided by the climax scene, where our Kick-Ass like all conquering child of a heroine runs off Marissa only to have the latter confront her as she comes out of the mouth of the big bad wolf. Don’t ask how Marissa got there in the first place; it doesn’t matter. It’s damn stylish, though.
Best scene: Eric Bana fights off a bunch of evil agents at a Berlin train station in a lengthy action scene without any cuts. Oh, how I’d love more action films to be so well directed!
Overall: An action film with style but not much more. 3 out of 5 stars.