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The action, adventure, thriller film Hanna, 111minutes in length, was released in the United Kingdom as a 12a, on the 6th May 2011.
I was always interested in watching this film as soon as I saw the trailer, but it looked rather creepy, so I was unsure. I saw that it was going to be on Channel 4, so I set it up for record. I finally watched this about a week ago, snuggled up for movie night with my Partner.
The story of Hanna, a 16 year old girl, being bought up by her father, in the wintery, secluded forest, being trained as an assassin, to be sent on a mission when she wishes to; pulling the lever there is no going back...
You join Hanna through her journey across Europe, making friends and avoiding danger, discovering the secret behind her 'abnormal' DNA, being followed all the way.
I was rather disappointed, I felt the trailer didn't portray the film in the light I saw it. Creepy thriller was actually a thriller, adventure, more adventure than anything.
If I hadn't of gone into the film thinking it would have been something different then I would have enjoyed it more.
It was an interesting, different film that kept you guessing most of the way, which leaves you in suspense and wanting to watch on. There are a lot of flashing lights throughout the film, so I wouldn't suggest this for anyone that it might affect.
Saoirse Ronan an Irish actress plays her character in Finland brilliantly, in fact most of the acting from all the actors including Eric Bana (Erik Heller) and Cate Blanchett (Marissa Wiegler) the other two main features in this film.
Scenes, accents and the overall visuals of the film are tremendous as very believable, just a little slow moving at times.
Nominated for 10 awards, Winner of 4.
Available to purchase on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Copy for around £3 on DVD from various websites and stores.
About the film
Hanna is a British/ German action thriller film that was released in the UK on DVD on 29th August 2011. The film is rated 12A and has a run time of 111 minutes.
A teenage Hanna and her father live in the middle of nowhere, Finland. Hanna is unlike other children though as she has been trained her whole life by her ex-CIA father. She is strong, smart, speaks several languages and has incredible stamina. Everything that she has been taught has been in order to make Hanna the perfect assassin and to prepare her for the life she is about to have.
After being sent into the real world on a mission by her father, Hanna quickly realises that she hasn't had the same kind of upbringing as others her age. Now, she has to stealthily travel across Europe to get to her final destination, fighting off an intelligence operative and her team of henchmen along the way. Over the course of her mission, Hanna faces revelations about herself and questions about who she is.
Saoirse Ronan as Hanna Heller
Cate Blanchett as Marissa Wiegler
Eric Bana as Erik Heller
Jessica Barden as Sophie
Aldo Maland as Miles
Tom Hollander as Isaacs
Olivia Williams as Rachel
Jason Flemyng as Sebastian
Michelle Dockery as False Marissa
Vicky Krieps as Johanna Zadek
Martin Wuttke as Knepfler
What I thought
I've had this DVD sitting on my 'to watch' pile for such a long time now. Seeing Saoirse Ronan recently in The Host made me want to watch Hanna even more and I finally got round to watching it.
The film had me gripped from the very beginning. Hanna and her father are living in the middle of Finland, hunting deer and training extremely hard. Hanna looks quite young so I instantly wondered what the hell was going on and why she was learning how to fight, shoot and speak multiple languages. The life that we see her and her dad living is far from the norm and definitely not in the typical type of location to bring up a child. I really loved how interesting the plot was to begin with. It captures the attention right away and also raises many questions.
To pull off a plot as strong as this, a great lead actor was needed. Playing Hanna is Saoirse Ronan who I hadn't really heard of until quite recently. However, she is utterly amazing in this film. At the time of release, Ronan was only 17 years old but had already been in a few films. Hanna is a very strange character and very mysterious. Having not grown up in any kind of society, Hanna is distanced from the rest of the world. But, she does know how to hunt, kill and cook a deer and speak several languages... amongst other things. I'm not sure what kind of training Ronan had to do for this film but there was certainly a lot going on for her. Although an unusual character, Ronan makes Hanna likeable. She has had no control over her life or upbringing so it isn't her fault that she doesn't understand the outside world. When she leaves her home in Finland, Hanna must deal with real people and real situations, both of which she finds confusing but not scary. It is interesting to see Hanna put into the real world and to watch her realise that she isn't like everyone else. I also loved seeing Hanna making friends with a young British girl and her family and to try to find things in common with her.
In the supporting cast there are big names such as Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett but unfortunately, both are outshined by Ronan. Bana doesn't feature as much as he possibly could have as Hanna's dad and I would have liked to have seen a more emotional relationship between the two. Blanchett on the other hand, has a very large role in this film. She plays Marissa Wiegler, the woman hunting Hanna. Blanchett comes across as very evil over the course of the film and determined to get what she wants, no matter the cost. I find Blanchett to be a great actor in whatever role she takes and this one was no excpetion.
Along with a strong basic plot, there is loads of action throughout. As Hanna races across Europe, she has to fight off those who are chasing her. Although as I said before, I don't know what kind of training Ronan did for Hanna, she must have done some in the ways of running. She does a lot of running in this film and she appears to be incredibly fit and looks great doing these scenes. Not only does this part of the plot provide some great action scenes, it also provides great scenery. As the film starts in Finland and ends in Germany, there are plenty of places visited in-between. From beautiful snowy forests in Finland to urban Germany, there is always something wonderful to look at.
Hanna is tense, exciting and mysterious at the same time. This is one of the best thriller/ action films I have seen in a while and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
*This review will also be posted on my blog and other sites*
Apparently this film had some negative press when it was originally released but I loved it. It's incredibly unusual to have such a strong female lead character in a film. We are usually force-fed the 'handsome muscular male hero' with 'vulnerable female love interest' stereotype/s. This is, of course, incredibly offensive and also very very boring.
However, this film is not run-of-the-mill. It centres on 'Hanna', a very strong and dynamic young woman - surprisingly refreshing, I know! The cinematography is pretty amazing. Lots of Arctic scenes and a 'cold' and desolate feel at the start. Her turquoise eyes peer through the trees in the forest where she has been brought up. She is a skilled hunter with acute senses. There is no internet, electricity or music in this environment. Her father is around and has skilled her up with fighting abilities. Soon her skills are put to the test in the wider world.
The soundtrack is cool and electronic. In fact, all tracks are by the same band - The Chemical Brothers. The music does add to one's enjoyment of the film and tracks are suited to each scene. It's very much an edge-of-your-seat affair with drama and surprises throughout. It's a film I would watch again and again.
Definitely one for women (and men) who are sick and tired of the usual way in which we are portrayed in most films. If you are a fan of action, thriller, drama and indie films then see this as soon as you can.
I saw this film when it first came out in the cinema and based on the way it had been publicised it was nothing like I had expected. In recent years there have been a stream of fairly dull and predictable action thrillers with a strong female as the lead role. I was expecting this to be along similar lines but because I really like Saoirse Ronan I decided it might be worth a watch anyway - I was in for the surprise of my life.
The film follows its namesake Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), a young girl who lives with her father Erik (Eric Bana) in a wild and baron snowy landscape. Erik has been training Hanna to become a deadly assassin for many years, after leaving the CIA. Erik holds valuable information that the CIA want to be kept secret and so the pair have been in hiding for many years while Erik trains Hanna for her most important task. It is Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), a CIA officer, who wants to find Erik and who Erik has trained Hanna to kill. Erik has totally shut Hanna off from the world and as a result she has little concept of what faces her as she enters into modern civilization. Erik sets off a transmitter that notifies the CIA of their whereabouts and while he leaves Hanna waits in their wood cabin for the CIA to arrive.
Arrive they do, and they take her to a secure facility where they ask her many questions. She asks to see Marissa and, on Marissa's orders, is introduced to a double who she swiftly kills and sets about escaping from the underground complex. She discovers she is on the run in a Moroccan desert teaming with CIA agents looking for this distinctive blonde girl in an orange jumpsuit. Just in time Hanna comes across a family of tourists, a couple and their teenage daughter and younger son, who she hitches a ride with and eventually a ferry to Spain too.
Marissa hires a former agent to capture Hanna in an attempt to stop her reuniting with her father in Germany. I won't spoil the ending for you but needless to say there is plenty of action to be had and beautiful scenery to be seen.
In fact part of the the success of the film is the way in which it is shot, the places you get to visit and the action you become part of. The film draws you in and makes you a willing accomplice in Hanna's mission. The scenery is breathtaking, from wild frozen landscapes to the warmth of the Moroccan sun, each moment has you mesmerised.
Hanna is also enchanting and unpredictable. Her blindingly blonde hair and pale skin has a strange almost fairytale quality to it which resonates through so much of the film. Saoirse Ronan is an actress who I have avidly followed from her appearance in The Lovely Bones. She is stunning to look at and her acting always has me entranced. I find her totally believable as Hanna, and frankly a little terrifying. There are also brilliant performances from Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, though I am sorry to say that Hanna constantly steals the show.
I have to also quickly mention the soundtrack to this movie which is not something I usually notice much about a film. The entire thing was composed by the Chemical Brothers and is simply amazing. Not only does it add another rich level to this film which totally transports you into the screen but as a standalone album it is brilliant. The music is at times whimsical and enchanting and it wholly captures the sense of innocence tempered by violence that permeates the film.
I cannot say enough good things about this film. My only reservation would be for people who watched the trailer and expected the same thing I did this film might come as a total shock. For me it was an utterly pleasant one that gripped me from start to finish, but for others expect something a bit more tame it might prove to be a little extreme.
I bought this on DVD when it first came out for £12 in HMV. I was happy to pay a little extra to own it straight away because I loved it so much but months later you can usually find these films for cheaper than you can initially. Hold out if you are happy to, and get the best deal for yourself.
This is a film I would thoroughly recommend, prepare to have your mind blown.
Star - Cate Blanchett
Genre - Action/Thriller
Certificate - 12a
Run Time - 111 minutes
Country - Germany/USA
Rental - £2.99 per night @ Blockbuster
Amazon - £.6.99p to buy
The cinema audience are thirsting for more Jason Bourne, in whatever form that comes, Hanna the latest to dish up a fighting machine who doesn't know their past, although the twist here the potential agent is a she and just a kid. Salt had a good crack at the same sort of thing with the increasingly plastic android that is Angelina Jolie and Haywire is currently in the multiplexes doing good business with the all action Gina Carano high kicking her way through the world various intelligence agencies.
Hanna is a little chunkier and arty than the above and not your average popcorn action movie; its Northern European settings and eclectic cast delivering a far smarter looking escape from the bad guys and girls in suits, shades and SUV thriller. We love this wobbly camera stuff laced with dramatic music and lead performances, the performance by young Saoirse Ronan making this a very different kind of spy thriller and rewarding rental experience, although not excused from cliché.
Saoirse Ronan... as Hanna Heller
Cate Blanchett.... as Marissa Wiegler
Eric Bana... as Erik Heller
Jessica Barden... as Sophie
Tom Hollander... as Isaacs
Olivia Williams as Rachel
Jason Flemyng... as Sebastian
Michelle Dockery... as False Marissa
Vicky Krieps... as Johanna Zadek
Martin Wuttke... as Mr. Grimm
Sebastian Hulk... as Titch
In the icy wilds at the edge of the Antarctica tundra a young girl known as Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) hones her impressive hunting and fighting skills, knowing only the life of the forest and a wooden shack since she was born, taught to survive by her equally tough father Erik (Eric Bana), the girls to down a dear from 50 yards with a bow and arrow. Every day dad teaches her about the outside world through fairytales and Readers Digest alongside her combat skills and what to expect when she finally experiences civilisation, all but a Wolf child, her clothes mere furs and school books completely absent.
When the day arrives to flee the nest there will be know school prom for this particular 16-year-old. Her father breaks the news that her whole life has been leading up to this decision and the moment she choose to see the world is the moment she becomes a target by an unknown enemy, a long since concealed tracking device below the hut having to be activated when she chooses to go, adding mystery and intrigue to their situation. Her father has had a colourful history in the espionage world and people have been looking for him for 16 long years, Hanna the reason why he went off the grid.
Once the button is pressed the agents are on their way and heavily armed, Erik Heller a priority one target. Father and daughter agree to split up and meet up in Berlin, dad going by foot, Hanna soon captured, her plan. Dad has taught her well and who her enemy is, that of Agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), the quickest way to Wiegler, being captured.
Dad chooses the straight-line approach to Berlin whilst Hanna soon escapes her integration unit in a top secret, high tech underground facility in the desert. Her journey of discovery has begun as she tags along with a liberal British family travelling by VW Combi to Marrakesh and hopefully mainland Europe, her warped sense of the world taking some explaining, but soon under surveillance by the bad guys and putting the family at great risk, an ever so slightly psychotic man called Isaacs (Tom Hollander) tasked to track them down by Agent Wiegler, a showdown in Berlin beckoning for Hanna to try and work out what this subterfuge is all about and who she really is...
The first hour is intriguing and action packed stuff and if you are prepared to not step too deeply in the plot pot holes and poke around with a realism stick then you will enjoy this. The dialogue isn't great and the characters rather abstract at times but the mystery unfolds nicely and you go with it to a certain point, its grainy European film look and appeal steering it comfortably clear of that cliché Hollywood star fuelled action spy thriller fodder. It does get increasingly silly towards the end, though, as Blanchett quickly turns into the Wicked Witch and Eric Bana struggles with his unknown European accent, a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and ken Dodd, leading up to the unsatisfactory and somewhat surreal ending of high heels Hansel and Gretel Cottage shoot out, in keeping with its Hans Christian Anderson themes.
Clearly the strikingly beautiful Cate Blanchett and the likeable Eric Bana here are only on board as names to secure the films financing for director Joe Wright and so not their fault their performances take away something from the originality of Hanna, only for the film to be stolen by the angelic Ronan with her athletic lead turn, like Sissy Spacek in Carrie with a machine gun! This is certainly no Stormbreaker rubbish guys!
For it $28 million budget it did $64 million back and so there is a hunger for this type of
eccentric Euro hybrid action film, the subtitles mixed in chipping off some of the final expected gross. Blanchett and Bana or not, mainstream punters do not like subtitles. The contrast to the usually Hollywood bombastic shoot em up is refreshing though and definitely the films main appeal. The middle of the film has German skinheads in full Mod braces, Polo T - Shirts and Doc Martin Boots, stomping around the North African desert with guns, quite a sight and a first for cinema me thinks. It is NOT suitable family viewing, though, regardless of its young star, this surprisingly given a 12a. Blood sperts and bullets fly.
----Action Movie Ratings----
Time Out - "While the film as a whole may be episodic and wayward, and not always in a good way, the action scenes are uniformly sharp, inventive and grippin".
Empire Magazine -"An absurd-sounding concept rendered wholly believable and thrilling by a fearless young actress and a director at the top of his game"
The Sun - "The ingredients are there for success, but as we build toward resolution (or even increased conflict) Hanna fails to develop at a rate to match the sum of its parts.
The San Diego Herald - "Sometimes a gritty, unpolished, and decidedly European-style thriller is exactly what you're looking for"
Sydney Morning Herald - "Wright is capable of much better, as is everyone in the cast. He's trying to make a silky Euro thriller with a frisson of controversy. It's more like a never-ending trailer"
Joe Wright discuses his film.
As bad as the other one.
Quite a few folks!
-Anatomy of a Scene: Escape from Camp -
Filler to justify some double-disc edition no doubt.
Imdb.com - 6.9/10.0 (66,712 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 71% critics approval rating
Metacritic.com - 65% critics approval rating
Radio Times Film Year Book - 3/4
A friend recommended this to me by saying it had an assassin in it and lots of action. Other than that brief synopsis, I didn't really know what to expect, but I'm glad I watched it as it was entertaining enough and quite a good quality film for action/thriller fans.
Hanna was directed by Joe Wright, an award-winner whose previous work includes Atonement, so I think his knowledge of films helped to give this its well-rounded, good quality feel. We're introduced to Hanna, played by Saoirse Ronon (also in Atonement, and The Lovely Bones). She's not your average 16 year old girl; living in a secluded hut in Finland, she has been brought up by her father, an ex-CIA guy played by Eric Bana (The Hulk).
Whilst normal kids of her age might be truanting school, playing around with make-up and boys, Hanna is being trained by her father. We see her hunting, building survival tactics, learning to fight. Why? So that she's prepared for a mission, a dangerous one at that, when she decides she's ready. The girl is eager to learn but also eager to get out into the real world, so the rest of the film takes us on her mission in Europe. I won't give too much away, save to say that the mission is part of her father's past, and the question is whether she can avoid the agents trying to kill her and complete her mission before she's taken out of the game.
I thought the cast was pretty strong in this, with Ronan taking the lead role with confidence and a good air of believability. Likewise, Bana sculpts his character so that the father-daughter pair are brought to life and we can almost start to empathise with their situation. Also in the cast is Cate Blanchett, playing an intel agent of high ranks, who plays a key part in Hanna's mission and Bana's old life in the CIA. Other characters come in to play and pad out the range of characters and make the scenario a little lighter, such as the family of holiday go-ers in Europe with whom Hanna tags along with for a while unbeknown to them.
The plot is fairly different and there are some twists that make this film interesting and intelligent. I wouldn't say it's necessarily an ending you couldn't guess, but it's unravelled at a good pace and kept me watching from start to finish.
Overall, this film blends each aspect of characters, plot, scenes and script well into a good quality film. It may not be everyone's cuppa tea and it wasn't quite what I had expected, but I enjoyed watching it and would recommend it as something a little different, interesting, thought-provoking and action-packed.
Released 2011, rated certificate 15
Selling on Amazon for £10.49
It may come as a surprise that "Hanna," a story about a 17 year-old assassin (Saoirse Ronan) was in fact directed by Joe Wright, who made his name making stylish period dramas "Atonement" and "Pride and Prejudice." What a change in genre. They all seem to deal with strong independent female characters, but they are all up to very different things. The women of "Pride and Prejudice" are concerned about marriage, the women of "Atonement" are worried about their true love, but for "Hanna," a young, small girl who lives in the wilderness hunting deer, brutally beating up her father in many training exercises, the concept of love, is the last thing on her mind. She shoots to kill, sprints in the snow, does pull-ups, and lives in an isolated cottage. She has no friends and absolutely no connection to the outside world. She only has her father, who is her hardcore trainer, preparing her for something huge.
What is this girl's objective? It's not clear at first, but her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana), keeps repeating the name of Marissa Wiegler. It seems like Marissa (Cate Blanchett) is the target, a delightfully malicious CIA agent who is stunned when the name Erik Heller comes up in an investigation. She wants to "handle" this situation quietly and efficiently, but the agency doesn't see Erik as a priority. It's time to take matters into her own hands - the agency doesn't officially support any unorthodox methods - but Marissa is not the person to care about what is legit and what isn't. Hiring a creepy looking mercenary Isaacs (Tom Hollander), they set out to hunt down Erik. The revelation of Hanna's existence also confuses things a little more. Marissa seems to know what is special about Hanna. There is a whole lot of water under the bridge between Marissa and Erik - a lot of buried illegal operations and hushed up confidential information.
Moving at an energetic pace with Wright jumping straight into the action, he immediately paints the simmering, tense atmosphere in which Hanna the protagonist can glide through. Backed by the electrifying score by The Chemical Brothers which provides consistent heart-stomping tunes, "Hanna" is one thrilling ride that refuses to let up its tight grip. Wright turns the young Ronan into an action star, a brilliant, cold young heroine who is surely in league with Hit-Girl from "Kick-Ass" and Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium franchise. She is utterly fearless in what she does - she can single-handedly take down a group of well-trained, bigger male agents, and has no trouble escaping from a secure CIA base. This is the world she was grown to flourish in - her sole purpose in life was to kill and hunt down her target. She knows of nothing else - which is why when she is tossed out into the open world, she finds it hard to fit in.
Finding a drastic shift in tone, when Hanna encounters "normal" people in public, her lack of experience in the outside world obviously shows. When she comes across a travelling family, Sebastian (Jason Flemyng), Rachel (Olivia Williams), and their two children Sophie (Jessica Barden) and Miles (Aldo Maland), she learns of friendships and close family dynamic. Her past history consists of a careful set of lies prepared and rehearsed over and over again with her father. But the warmth and love that is shared between parents and their children, the spontaneity, going on a trip around the world is something Hanna has never, and will possibly never take part in. And she finds herself enjoying the calm and peace that surrounds her when this nice family decides to include her in their journey. With Hanna's odd take on the world this provides some easy, off-beat comedy that fills in the gap in between all the non-stop chases initiated by the ruthless Marissa who will stop at nothing to capture these two figures.
Ronan who only a few years ago was seen running around in a dress being all girly, is almost unrecognisable with her new role she embodies so convincingly. There is nothing unnatural about her beating Bana, who is almost twice her size, to a pulp, and as she engages in skillfully choreographed hand-to-hand combat, she easily captures the audience's attention with her sheer force and energy. The action is set in intimate, tight locations, allowing our heroine to use the surroundings to her advantage. It never goes overboard, and delivers more excitement because of it. Bana is sturdy and ever-so reliable as her father but the supporting performance to enjoy is Blanchett's whose deliciously evil portrayal of Wiegler and her thick southern accent can be both funny and utterly frightening. Her deadly serious looks, her trigger-happy nature and absence of any moral fibre in her body, are something Blanchett is brilliant at balancing.
Despite Wright's lack of experience in the genre, his steady hands fail to waver even in the film's most far-fetched moments. There are inevitably secrets that surround Hanna's true identity and reasons for existence, and this is where the plot ventures out into the slightly implausible world of deep, undercover CIA operation, secret genetic manipulation, hushed up elimination of targets etc. But even with the introduction of these themes, Wright keeps its tone personal focused on Hanna, a young girl searching for her place in the world. What happens after she completes the objectives set out by her father? We're unsure - and Hanna feels the same way. "Hanna" is not all about the brutal action either: although Wright excels in this area too, the film's most effective moments stem from the actor's warm performances, as Hanna discovers another world outside her own one. It's a journey of self-discovery, with the added bonus of bloody, stylish action scenes thrown in along with it.
"Hanna" not only showcases the versatility of its director, but also its cast. Who knew the young Ronan had it in her to competently whoop some ass? Who knew Blanchett could be so fantastic in playing a ruthless villain? Who knew Bana could show so much affection in his performance, although not in the most conventional manner? The surprises here are endless. A superior, unforgettable thriller on all levels, the Wright-Ronan pairing is surely the one to watch for years to come.
I saw the trailer for this film a long time ago in the cinema however never managed to get around to watching it, so last night I bought the dvd from blockbusters. I love fimls where a strong female lead lives a mysterious life, has kick ass combat skills and a certain enigma about her so I thought this film would be right up my street!
The film tells the story of Hanna (Saorise Ronan) who is brought up be her father (Eric Bana) in the wilderness and trained both mentally and physically to be an elite fighter. Hanna learns to survive in a hostile environment, her father teaches her many languages and seems to be preparing her for an unknown challenge. At 16 Hanna decides she is grown up enough to go out into the world, her father reveals to her a homing beacon which if she turns on will alert intelligence operatives as to their whereabouts and will lead to Hanna having to either kill or be killed. As you can probably predict Hanna flicks the switch and from then on she splits up from her father and is pursued across Europe by an unscroupulous intelligence agent with a questionable past (Cate Blanchett), making friends with an ordianry family along the way, who help teach Hanna what she has been unable to learn in the forest, about friendship.
Saorise Ronan, as seen in the recent film Bones and Atonement is a brilliant actress who portrays the somewhat socially awkward Hanna exactly how I would have imagined her from the trailer. Cate Blanchett is amazing is this film also, I found myself both drawn to her character and repelled by the coldness of her actions. Eric Bana is a good actor in this film however his performance doesn't majorly stand out to me, I think he somewhat overshadowed by Saorise and Cate Blanchett.
I would recommend this film if you like action movies, although be aware that it isn't a complete hit, at times the fight scenes can seem like they could be better and furthermore the story of just why Hanna is being pursued isn't as adequately explained as I would have liked, although you do get the jist! The DVD comes with the additional features of an alternate ending, deleted scnes and a feature commentary which are nice add ons. Overall I give this film a 4/5.
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'.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
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 a twisted fairground, 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 topless scenes, his acting unfortunately does not shine through (he can kick ass though) as much as Cate Blanchett, playing 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 gon, it leaves me wondering how story will continue. I'm not here for prequels.
Hanna is a film that has been advertised very strongly over the past few months. The trailers had intrigued me enough that I wanted to see it, although I really wasn't sure what to expect, other than a teenage girl with what seemed like supreme assassin skills. Essentially, this is one of the only clear elements of the film.
The film opens with the titular heroine, a teenage girl, stalking and killing a deer, deep in the snow covered countryside. Erik, who we soon learn is the man who has brought her up, then creeps up behind her, telling her she should never let her guard down, and we then get a few minutes of his instructions training her in fighting skills, essentially so that she is the ultimate killing machine, perfect both physically and mentally.
As Hanna gets to the point where she is ready to go out into the real world, having lived only with Erik and nothing but the vast remote wilderness they live in. For some strange reason, Erik then tells her if she's ready, then she's to press a button on a console and then run, as they'll come looking for her. It's as this point where I thought that if she really wanted to go out into the world, then don't press the button - just go for a spot of travelling! I guess things become a little clearer later in the film as to why he would want someone coming after them, but it was still something that didn't make a huge amount of sense.
As Hanna heads off one way and Erik goes another, agreeing to meet her at some point, we meet up with Marissa, obviously the head of some government run sub division, who sends out agents after Hanna and Erik, having spent over a decade looking for them. Little bits of plot slowly but surely start to become more transparent, and this is seeped into the film as the action continues. The action is the steady element, giving us the instinctive reactions of a 16 year old girl who knows no different, while the innocence associated not just with the age but with someone who has had no experience of the outside world also rears its head, creating a stark contrast between character actions and facial uncertainty.
To this extent, Saiorse Ronan does an excellent job of playing Hanna. It must be a tricky script to work with, but she does a great job of being a lethal assassin and retaining that innocence and kind nature. The encounters she has with an English family are quite amusing, especially as the daughter in the family is the complete opposite of her, another stark contrast. But the places where she is strongest is during the action scenes, mainly the fighting, as the choreography is excellently transformed onto the screen by director Joe Wright. There are so many impressive elements that the director brings together, but it's almost like completing a jigsaw puzzle but realising that the pieces don't actually seem to make an image that makes sense.
The roles, individually, are very well acted, and recognisable actors such as Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander and Jason Flemyng show their usual mettle. Ronan herself is also exceptional, as I have mentioned. Similarly, the scenery and the way the camera displays is also stunning at times. The flow of scene to scene is effortless, and the action high paced and thoroughly entertaining. The only issue is that when put together just doesn't flow smoothly in the slightest. It feels disjointed, unexplained and incomplete, and I just couldn't relax or feel comfortable at times. The start is very artistic, with single father bringing up daughter in the wild, long sweeping shots of countryside and emphasising the morals and ethics and a purpose. Then it switches into high paced action before a short interlude of Indie when the English family come into it, full of stereotype. The action then ensues before a bit of drama and some heartfelt speeches, a bit of self sacrifice and the essential subtle messages come along. Before you know it, we've gone through a whole host of genres before the credits roll and you feel as if it's something YOU have missed, that perhaps everything is clear after all and it's a great film.
But others have said the same. Hanna is a good film, and one to watch when you get the chance, but expect to have to do a bit of puzzle construction to understand the reasons behind all the actions. There are flashbacks to explain vendettas and reasons for chasing Hanna and Erik, but even with this is just doesn't completely explain exactly what's going on. Probably not one I'd bother watching again, but it's worth giving a go for the individual elements that are highly commendable.
When I first saw the trailer for 'Hanna' I thought it reminded me of films such as Kill Bill, Kick Ass and Salt, all of which express female empowerment. Hence this was the main reason I wanted to watch 'Hanna', I love this type of film where there is a lead female character with a powerful, bad ass attitude.
Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a sixteen year old girl who has been brought up to kill. She was raised as an assassin, following the death of her mother, within the wilderness in Finland by her ex CIA agent father Erik (Eric Bana). Erik trains Hanna not only physically, but also prepares her for the outside mentally (she can also impressively speak any language). When Hanna's father believes that she is fully trained and ready to venture into the big wide world, he let's her leave. Hanna travels throughout Europe on her own mission escaping the clutches of CIA agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett) and killing any agents sent her way.
Hanna and Erik have their own reasons for carrying out their mission (ones which I cannot disclose without ruining the plot) as does Marissa. I would say that the main criticism of this film is the lack of depth and clarity for which the mission is based upon, it seems to only be half explained. Throughout 'Hanna' you find yourself asking many questions, such as, 'why is Marissa so intent on killing Hanna and Erik?', 'why did father and daughter travel on their missions separately?' and 'what is the real relationship between these three main characters?' I expected all of these questions and more to be answered in an explosive climax ending which would explain everything. Disappointingly however the film left me with more questions that answers.
Although the plot was quite frankly rubbish, I do feel the need to praise the two lead female actors, Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett. Both actors got their characters down to a T. Saoirse Ronan was excellent at playing Hanna, she was able to display Hanna's 'no fear', independent attitude as well as the vulnerability of a sixteen year old girl who has never been exposed to the 21st century world. Similarly Cate Blanchett I believe was perfect at playing a cold hearted, strong but classy character. In contrast the lead male characters are only secondary. Eric Bana is forgettable, he doesn't really play a big role in the film, only acting as the man who raised and trained Hanna. Isaacs (Tom Hollander) acting as Marissa's sidekick, on the hunt for Hanna and Eric, similarly deems an unimportant character who doesn't bring much to the film.
If you like films with a lot of action, loud music and quick camera work, then you will enjoy this film. I particularly enjoyed the scene whereby Hanna first shows us the extent of her 'killing' abilities, escaping the CIA compound after she is first encountered by them. Impressively the camera work and soundtrack complimented each other completely, particularly in all the fighting, fast paced scenes. Similarly the camera work was perfect at capturing the beauty of the various nature scenes throughout.Overall, this film could have been much better than it was. Hanna had factors which could have made it a brilliant film; great acting, brilliant camera work and perfect soundtrack, but it has totally been let down by the plot. The audience are left with too many questions, the film is not fully explained and I would definitely not waste my money watching Hanna 2!
Deep in the snowy wastes of Norway, a renegade spy raises his daughter to be a lean, mean killing machine. Trained practically from birth to be fit, strong and ruthless, it's perhaps not surprising that teenage Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is out hunting her own dinner, or very nearly able to beat up a man more than twice her size. Is it? And then - like any parental relationship - there's the growing tension of Hanna feeling it's time to not only to fly the nest, but to see the world she's so far only experienced through books, so total has been her isolation. Somehow, I'm getting the feeling that Erik (Eric Bana) has been protecting his daughter from more than just teenage boys...
On paper, trying to talk about Hanna makes it sound like a bit of a mess. It's a thriller, an action adventure, a bit of a coming of age thing, with a hefty family drama element. Occasionally there are moments that made me laugh out loud, and not in an inadvertent kind of a way. It's hard to write why it was worth watching, and yet something in that mess pulled together and it actually was.
Back to the start, and we're going to chuck in another theme/genre, and in my opinion the least successful one: let's go a bit arthouse. Cold, bleak surroundings; teenage girl hunting deer; a father training his child in the most isolated of conditions. 'Scuse me while I stifle a small yawn. There is a lot to appreciate with the set up, but it did have me wondering what kind of dull experience I'd let myself in for - and largely fearing for just way too much teenage angst set against some lovely if desolate scenery. But, ah, don't worry: here comes the action!
Usually when a movie makes a big shift in tone it's hugely jarring for the viewer. I'd suggest that the main reason Hanna gets away with it is that each change in mood comes with a fresh environment and a new part of the story. I didn't really get the impression that it was a conscious move to keep the viewer off kilter, but it does work like that. And given that we're following a young character quite probably meeting people other than her father for the first time, and definitely her initial views of the big bad world, that's not actually a bad thing. And of course, when I say big bad world I do mean one where the CIA is hot on your tail and more than a few people are willing to shoot at you...!
Into the middle of all this comes a huge dollop of what I can only describe as comic relief - not that it's overtly so, but the English hippy family led by Jason Flemyng and Olivia Williams bring a lot of light relief. They do stray ever so slightly into stereotype eventually, but in many ways are the most 'real' - and definitely most human - of the characters here. The juxtaposition of the very extraordinary life of teen Hanna with a very normal slice of English family life is utterly out of place with the rest of the film, and yet absolutely a solid core that stops the whole thing being Teen Bourne.
Either side of that diversion, we have the ever-adaptable Cate Blanchett as a high-level CIA operative with links to Erik's past: she is the driving force behind the chase to hunt down both father and daughter. In hindsight it is perhaps a little disappointing to have a female baddy show more weakness than your average spy movie villain, but still refreshing to have a depth to the character. The alternative is provided with a fabulous performance from Tom Hollander in a rather one-dimensional role as a camp German hitman, hot on the heels of our young heroine - absolutely menace personified, and wrapped in a natty shell suit. Priceless!
Throughout all this rather madcap escape is a growing sense of mystery and unease: just what exactly is going on with Hanna? What happened in the past that left Erik a lone parent so desperate to hide her away in the middle of nowhere? The more we learn, the more there seems to be to this story. Innocence is apparently more than a little deadly.
One final comment: without spoiling anything, please don't make the mistake I did and assume American-staffed CIA bases are going to be in the US deserts. It did leave me momentarily a little confused as to how a character could leave on foot and suddenly end up in what looked like Morocco!
Back to where I started, then, and there is just so much with Hanna that really shouldn't work: it's a mess of different ingredients chucked together and yet somehow it ended up being a whole lot of fun. It would be very easy to pick holes in it, but rather I found the contrast between the different acts of the story helped it avoid the pitfalls of any one element. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but with everything that's going on there's surely *something* for everyone in there!
*Running time: 111 minutes
*Theatrical release: 6th May 2011
*DVD release: tbc