Ever been physically afraid of a 17-year-old girl? Let me introduce you to Hanna, an animalistic, instinct-driven teenage female version of Jason Bourne. If that idea alone doesn’t set fear into your heart, wait until you see her in action.
For the last 15 years, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones) has been raised by her former special agent father Erik (Eric Bana, Star Trek) in a hand-made cabin just below the arctic circle. In hiding from nearly every secret agency in the world, Erik has taught Hanna nearly everything he knows: how to hunt, hunt to survive and, more importantly, how to kill. Their motto is “adapt or die.”
With her “training” now complete, Hanna is ready to flip the switch on a tracking beacon that will alert intelligence agencies to their whereabouts. The special agent heading the mission to recover their “rogue asset” is Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), the same agent that has been hunting Erik and Hanna since their disappearance.
Before the choppers arrive and arrest them, Erik heads off on mission of his own while Hanna stays behind to complete hers – track down Marissa Wiegler, kill her and escape to a safehouse rendezvous where she will meet her father. This is all you need to know about Hanna. Although the trailers give slightly more plot, in reality, the less you know about the better it will be.
Hanna is a completely unique take on the action genre. With a brilliant script, fantastic original score from The Chemical Brothers, amazing performances, never-before-seen artistic direction and unconventional-yet-awesome cinematography, Hanna proves that action movies should be about more than just special effects and explosions – that is not to say that Hanna doesn’t have some of the coolest action scenes in years. The action of Hanna plays out like the way little boys see their G.I. Joe figurines fighting in their mind. The things that Hanna and Erik do – all within the PG-13 limitations – will bring the giddy giggles out of anyone who loves awesome action.
Hanna is one of those rare uber-cool films that constantly wows its viewers. For film lovers, especially those who love unique realizations of typical cliches, Hanna will please you to the highest level. I do not mean to insult the intelligence of the average moviegoing audience, but my fear is that those unfamiliar with independent filmmaking will not “get” what makes Hanna so unique. I worry that those without “trained eyes” might miss out on its brilliance.
For example, great camera work is supposed to go unnoticed, but I wish that everyone could view Hanna through a trained eye capable of recognizing every cool shot and sequence. There is one several-minute single-take scene in Hanna that follows a character through three locations, building up its intensity to a breathtaking four-on-one hand-to-hand fight sequence. Nobody has made as strong a long-take since Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men.
Please, for the love of great filmmaking, get out there and see Hanna this weekend. The more success Hanna has this weekend, the more we will get to see nationwide releases of strong original films like it.
Photo credit: Focus Features