Hanna movie review

Hanna movie review

With a headline like “Adopt or Die” the action thriller Hanna attracts many moviegoers to the big screen on April 8, 2011. The action film by Joe Wright released to the masses last week rather than to a limited amount of cities.

Brandon Pineda, News Editor

Not too many surprises here, just a great action flick with a sci-fi edge.

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenage girl raised in the wilderness by her Ex-CIA Operative father, Erik Heller. She is trained in advanced martial arts as well as survival skills in the wilds of —of all places—Finland. He, on the other hand, is cruel and heartless, so it seems.

His daughter is shut out into the wild and forced to hunt wild animals on her own. No fun intended. When the time comes for Hanna to venture out into the populated world, her father knows a secret Hanna does not know. The secret is that super spy killer Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchette) is waiting to kill the girl at the first opportunity.

Great performances by the three leads, combined with rapid-fire chase and fight sequences, make “Hanna” a terrific action thriller. The opening scenes set against the icy white pallet of the frozen north yield to the sterile interiors of the Central Intelligence Agency. Actually, it may not be the CIA, it may some super rocket science bioengineering arm of the CIA where they manufacture super-humans like we make popcorn

Nonetheless, Cate Blanchette is there and she is ready to rock and roll. She could kill with one look alone, but what a way to die. She is an ice-cold murder machine who makes winter in Iceland look like eggs frying on the sidewalk. She has made Hanna her special project to toy with and challenge.

As the story unfolds, the audience is slowly let in on the inside story of Hanna, Erik and Marissa. It’s an unholy triumvirate, to be sure, yet their connection gets more mysterious before the secret is told. As the clues are dealt out, the action heats up as Hanna cuts through trained assassins like a berserk chainsaw. She may look like an innocent girl scout, but she did not earn that merit badge in eye-gouging, neck-cracking and gut wrenching for nothing

Thinking they have just captured Goldie Locks, various white bread, no good nicks get their comeuppance at the hands of the stripling. Like many little girl heroines, Hanna is an old trapped inside a youth’s body. She has done her homework and learned the eye-gouging well. She is ready to go out into the world.

But both Mom and Dad still know something she does not. Like all mommies and daddies, they still hold the upper hand. But Hanna has childish innocence on her side. The battle is waged, corrupt adults against the pure child. David and Goliath set in the world of super-human, bio-technology gone badly awry.

Director Joe Wright is able to bring the powerful sense of guilt and foreboding from his Oscar darling “Atonement” (seven nominations and one win) into this realistic no-holds barred thriller. He and Ronan worked together on that film when she was only twelve years old and they have a simmering chemistry that makes her act with intensity beyond her years.

The guilt is important because Hanna is marked with original sin from the very beginning. This imbues the entire story with biblical overtones ranging from the David and Goliath fight to the Frankenstein man-creating-man mistake. All the taboos come together here and they meld mightily to launch the mayhem over the top.

Lenser Alwin H. Kuchler brings the pot-boiling tension of his award winning “Morvern Callar” (2002) into play with great interior shots of fights in close quarters to Hanna frolicking with the wolves in the blizzards of the heartless northland. Film editor Paul Tothill reunites with director Wright after several previous films together (past collaborations include his award winning work in “Atonement”).

Wright puts together a great following of cast and crew and he has access to a great young talent in Saoirse Ronan. This film will not make history as a classic spy thriller but it is total fun to watch and contains nary a dull moment.