Need an assassin? Hire ‘Hanna’


Hanna (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones) is a 16 year old girl, raised in a remote arctic forest by her father Erik (Eric Bana) to be an assassin.  When Hanna is sent on a mission across Europe, she is pursued by villainess Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), a CIA agent, who hires help to use methods she’s not authorized to use by the agency.  This euro-trippy-techno game of cat and mouse travels from Morocco to Spain and culminates in Germany in the Grimm house. 

Full of action and violence, the true strength of ‘Hanna’ lies much more in the cast’s dialogue delivery and in the reaction shots and nonverbals; the story itself seems pretty cheap and not well thought out when the big “abnormal” mystery is revealed.  It more or less seems like the story is just a superficial, “Oh I had to add this in here to make this valid – but I’m not going to do in-depth research”.  Granted, when the viewer sees the chart of DNA, it looks impressive, but basically, if the viewer doesn’t know and the filmmaker chooses not to explain it, then perhaps it either wasn’t necessary or it was a cheap way to appear scientific.   Who knows except a scientist? 

Never fear!  ‘Hanna’ is worth seeing.  The acting in the film is superb; in fact Saorise Ronan seems like a hit in Hollywood.  Her delivery and character embodiment is spot on.  She convincingly makes the viewer believe that she is in fact, a bad-ass assassin (who speaks every possible language known to man).  When she’s thrust into the busy life of Europe (compared to the arctic forest), she gives a magnificent portrayal of a young woman who feels alienated from some of the things people take for granted (electricity, music, television, etc.).  Cate Blanchett, with her soothing southern tone is seemingly channelling Sandra Bullock from The Blind Side, in a way and Eric Bana is very believable as an action star who plays the father figure. 

Another reason ‘Hanna’ is good for hire is because of the music and ambiguity of everything.  As Hanna explores, so does the viewer (despite  the lacking ideas of the screenplay, the filmmaking choices were amazing), the viewer is alienated and the world becomes foreign not only to Hanna but to the viewer themself, and that’s probably a lot do with the three locations, as generaly, Morocco, Spain and Germany aren’t usually intermingled with simplistic, native rituals, techno music, flashy lights, spinning and moving cameras and a Grimm fairy tale land (that looks like it could be used in Lady GaGa’s next music video).  The level of disorientation is intriguing. 

And just in case people were concerned, ‘Hanna’ is not purely a heavy-handed action/drama, there is some definite comic relief spread throughout via Hanna’s primadonna tweeny friend, Sophie (Jessica Barden – her second ever feature film), who is concerned with her appearance, boys and the possibility of plastic surgery. 

Hanna’s hired.  Case closed.  ‘Hanna’ is rated PG-13 and runs just under 2 hours. 

Grade:  A-



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