There is no denying that Joe Wright is a talented director. With films like Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, and The Soloist (a film that I personally really enjoy) under his belt, we can say that he has great attention to visual detail and creating a believable world for these stories to take place in. That being said, none of these movies sound like anything resembling Hanna, a governmental revenge thriller involving spies and corrupt officials. No quite what Wright has done in the past, but he has injected Hanna with a surreal kind of Grimm fairy tale motif that makes this movie unique from your average thriller film.
Since she was a small girl and before she can even remember, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has been living in a Finnish wilderness with her father, Erik (Eric Bana). She has also been vigorously trained everyday in a manner that would make the most dedicated marine exhausted. All of this leads up to the day when Erik puts a red switch on the table that will alert a woman in the CIA named Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) of their location. The switch is flicked and Hanna is swiftly taken while Erik makes his escape with plans to meet Hanna in Berlin. The mission: kill Marissa Wiegler. All seems to have been accomplished, but nothing could be further from the truth, starting a chase across many countries and revelations that will change Hanna’s views on everything she is doing.
Hanna has the potential to be a derivative government chase thriller. All of the variables needed for the formula are there. A corrupt government official, a large cover up, and a revenge tale. The little idiosyncrasies of this movie is what makes it special. First of all, it’s so interesting to watch Hanna interact with things that we take for granted. Living in a cabin in Finland’s wilderness will rob Hanna of particular day to day things like electricity and television. One scene in particular has her surrounded with all of this making these everyday objects so overwhelming. It’s an interesting thing to see her reactions to these “new” ideas, products, and ways of life.
Another great strength of this movie is the soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers. It is equally tranquil and thumping, much like Hanna, herself. While we are on that topic, Saoirse Ronan proves that she can act just as well as the veterans. In one scene she shows adorable naïvety then in the next she will be taking down 5 full grown men at one time. Eric Bana is also very likable despite having been so hard on Hanna. Cate Blanchett is easy to hate, but her Southern drawl can kind of rubbed me the wrong way at times. She seemed to be enjoying it a little bit too much.
Unfortunately, Hanna falls completely flat in some areas, so much so that it almost ruined the entire movie. For one thing, it has the strangest pacing I’ve ever sat through. At the beginning of the movie, she is training with her father and the mystery behind it all is pretty solid. Cool. I like that part a lot. She gets started with the mission, and right as it gets good she meets the most annoying group of people ever put to the silver screen. Ok, that’s probably a huge over reaction, but still. The family that she is with for a good chunk of the movie is pretty annoying and she is with them way too long! That mixed with the revenge story and government characters and plot line just didn’t sit too well with, and it just slowed the movie down.
In conclusion, Hanna wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t necessarily a let down. I didn’t know exactly what to expect and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it, so I didn’t have any expectations. For the most part, this movie goes above and beyond what is expected from a thriller of this kind. It adds small details and minor characters that make it special. The story and the soundtrack were excellent. The pacing is funky and I don’t really feel too good about the twist at the end, but all in all, this is a pretty awesome movie and definitely a memorable time.