Hanna, released in April of 2011, is a very unusual action movie. On one hand, it has some head-spinning action scenes. On the other hand, it is very character driven. The movie goes by swiftly, with the help of great acting, interesting camera work and the soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers. Written by Seth Lochhead and David Farr, directed by Joe Wright, and starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, Hanna is a story of survival and growing up.
16-year-old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) lives deep in the forest in Finland with her father Erik Heller (Eric Bana). He raised Hanna to be an assassin and to be able to speak multiple languages. When the time comes for Hanna to finally come into contact with the outside world, Erik gives her an old transmitter. When Hanna turns it on, their location becomes known to Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), a CIA agent. Wiegler is connected directly to Hanna’s past, and as Hanna is taken into CIA custody in Morocco, it becomes obvious that she is no ordinary teenager. On her way to meet with her father at a place they agreed upon, Hanna is thrown into a world very different from what she was used to her whole life. She makes friends, gets a glimpse of normal life, and learns to adapt to a whole new environment.
Saoirse Ronan’s almost white hair and icy blue eyes do make her look like she just walked out of a snowy forest. The opening scenes are very effective in conveying the cold and harsh conditions, with Hanna and Erik fitting in completely. However, very soon we are thrown into a very different setting – Moroccan desert, a stark contrast to the snowy Finland. The movie immerses the viewer completely into each new setting, just as Hanna herself is discovering things unfamiliar to her, like a TV or a light switch. The fact that Hanna speaks so many languages also adds authenticity to the movie, for instance, in the scenes where she speaks Arabic. Saoirse Ronan, without a doubt, makes for a strong lead character who captures you from the very first scenes and holds your attention till the very last words she says in the end.
I found the action scenes really interesting, with a particularly great combination of dynamic camera work, lighting and music in the sequence that takes place in the CIA safe house in Morocco. The camera work in general is quite fascinating in this movie, with music completing the picture. The often changing countries bring many different moods and add so much more realism to the whole experience.
Hanna invites you on an unusual journey, I would really recommend that you check it out.