Plot: Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16 year-old trained killer raised by her father Erik (Eric Bana) in the Arctic woods her whole life. Erik, a former government agent, sends Hanna back into society to kill his former boss (Cate Blanchett) who relentlessly pursues Hanna and her father.
Hanna is like the realistic version of Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass. Although she’s a bad ass assassin, this movie just didn’t connect with me. I never felt like Hanna’s story was important, and that all starts with the character of Hanna herself.
Hanna is supposed to act like a robot. She’s been isolated from the world her whole life, learning only how to fight. When she’s repeating instructions from her father, she regurgitates them like a computer. Saoirse Ronan plays Hanna very well, but almost too well. She acts like such a robot to the point where that’s how I responded to her, with no empathy whatsoever. Even with a film like Steven Spielberg’s A.I. which certainly has its problems, I connected with Haley Joel Osment’s David a lot more who actually is a machine.
But this goes back to the story just not feeling important. It’s painfully predictable and cliché. It’s the Bourne Identity, but less fun. I commend the director Joe Wright for making all the action seem more real and grounded, but I just never got invested. The first half is really slow and meanders along. Hanna spends a lot of time with this family she discovers on her travels. While the question of ‘will this family get hurt because they’re with Hanna’ tension was effective, it just moves way too slow. There are a couple interesting and humorous moments where Hanna is completely lost when experiencing things like a television or running water, but this causes the film to go off track and forget its goal. And while the second half definitely picks up, the whole feel of the movie is just underwhelming. I was more interested in the secondary characters than Hanna.
I loved Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. Bana’s Erik felt more sympathetic, and you could tell from his performance that he was troubled and forced to do something unethical back when he was an agent. It’s unfortunate that you spend so little time with him when compared to Hanna.
Blanchett’s Marissa is just so driven and determined. Even though you get very little information on why Marissa is so desperate to take them down, you know she’s a threatening villain because of her demeanor and approach. Her interaction with the other characters is easily the best part of the film. There’s a scene where she manipulates this kid into giving her the information she needs that is so slimy, but great too watch.
The movie has a definitive style of artistic camera angles that you just don’t see in the chase action flick, but it works for the most part.
Probably the first thing you’ll discuss after seeing this though is the music composed by the Chemical Brothers. It’s a very distinct style that I enjoyed very much, although at times it did feel like it belonged in some old arcade game like Donkey Kong. One thing that drove me nuts though was this eccentric assassin (Tom Hollander) Marissa hires to catch Hanna who hums the same damn tune throughout the whole movie. Even now, I can’t get it out of my head!!
Hanna is filled with some good tension, but the chase scenes go on way too long. I enjoyed the climax, but a lot of the action just feels underwhelming. While there’s good acting and a distinct style, the premise and character of Hanna was just completely uninteresting too me.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (‘meh’)