The photography in Hanna is breath-taking. Finland has never looked so beautiful, and beautiful is what Hanna (Saoirse Ronan from "Atonement") is in action.
She is a teenage, specially trained weapon (experimental, of course), who lives with her father in the forest. They hunt, shoot guns and arrows and generally have little discussion. Saoirse Ronan, with her steady eyes, makes you believe in this girl who doesn't have emotions. Dad (Eric Bana) seems pleased with her and one day, Hanna, decides she will go into the world, alone. “It is time.” This is the premise of Seth Lochhead and David Farr’s script and you just go with the flow. Cate Blanchett being the person at the other end of “It is time.” Cate’s time has started to slip away.
The plot concerns an experiment supposedly canceled long ago (guess again), assassinations right and left, near-miraculous escapes and chases, plus super-human strength and speed. As Hanna goes across Europe in pursuit of Cate, or vice-versa, Hanna begins to see what she missed growing up in the woods of Finland. Inter-action with other people, for one, and something called “friendship,” that she encounters when befriended by a family of father-mother-teenage daughter-young son. They accept the idea that Hanna’s parents lets her travel alone and invite her to go with them, which leads to a near-disastrous date with a new friend (Jessica Barden) trying to get Hanna to "act normal." All the while, Hanna’s guard is up like a perpetual sentinel, all senses on alert.
Hanna is a different type of chase-thriller. Using a slim, teenage girl as the lead is unusual, and Ronan does it with style. There is little dialogue, plenty of staring and a sense that she is, indeed, ready to go into the world. Eric Bana with no shirt, has his chance to be a spy (shown in flashbacks) and a proud Dad. Cate Blanchett, with an accent that roams from West Virginia to Russia and back, does her spying with two-inch heels, business suit and plenty of lipstick. An updated reminder of the spy game in From Russia With Love where Lotte Lenya had a knife in her shoe. Hanna turns into a one-person army who finds that her past has become her present. Saoirse Ronan takes the role of Hanna and runs with it. She is, indeed, ready to go into the world.
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Jessica Barden and Cate Blanchett
Director: Joe Wright
Scriptwriters: Seth Lochhead and David Farr
Cinematographer: Alwin H. Kuchler
Composers: The Chemical Brothers
Rating: PG 13 for violence, language and action
Running Length: 115 minutes
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner