Hanna: An Unconventional and Powerful Coming of Age Story

Hanna stars Soarise Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana, and is directed by Joe Wright. Image courtesy of IMDB.

Hanna is another kick-ass, girl power movie that I’ve been excited to see since I saw the teaser trailers a few months ago. Saoirse Ronan has proven herself to be a talented and classy actress among the scantily clad and trying-too-hard wannabes in Hollywood, with impeccable movie choices to date. Not to mention I am extremely excited to see where her career will go — especially since she is rumored to be cast in Peter Jackson’s upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit! #nerdalert

To avoid another Sucker Punch situation, I did not read a single review before I watched the film a few Fridays ago. I will admit, I did take a sneak peak at Rotten Tomatoes and saw it received a 71% on the “Tomatometer” and an 82% rating from audiences, which sparked my already high interest. (To date, Sucker Punch holds a whopping 21%).

Hanna begins with the blonde-haired, blonde-eyebrowed 16-year-old title character, played by Ronan, tracking a reindeer in a frozen, desolate Finland. As she swiftly and easily shoots her prey with a bow and arrow, she softly speaks, “I just missed your heart,” followed by a close-up of her stoic face and a loud bang from her pistol. Instantly, “HANNA” flashes across the screen in white letters against a blood red background. I was hooked.

The beginning scenes follow Hanna as she physically and mentally trains — for what? — with her father, Erik, played by Eric Bana, practices several languages (fluently, of course) and studies from a single Encyclopedia. She is taught to always be on guard, even as she sleeps, and proves herself worthy when she attacks her father while awakening from her slumber.

“I’m ready,” she says, winded from their midnight scuffle in their cabin.

Erik digs up a small tracking device and once Hanna taps the switch, the hunt is on. And let’s hope that she is ready because the next 1.5 hours are full of anxious traveling from her capture in Finland to Morocco and intense battle and chase scenes as she makes her way through Europe to Berlin to reunite with her father.

Her main goal: to kill Marissa, played by Cate Blanchett, the evil agent with a scary southern twang. Once Hanna mistakes and murders the wrong Marissa, she escapes an intricate cement underground lair and is left on her own to travel to Germany. This is where Hanna’s emotional journey and struggles begin as she hitches a ride with a jovial yet imperfect British family on their vacation around Europe.

Hanna — who lost her mother as was a baby — has only known a life of intense training to become a brutal killing machine. Observing this family, Hanna questions her own upbringing and place in life — once she meets her father in Berlin, and because her mission is seemingly complete, what will Hanna do… and who is Hanna? Ronan convincingly plays this young teen grappling with a sense of worth and meaning in life as she attacks and runs from ruthless agents to find her father.

With innate killer instincts and a lifetime of training, Hanna easily (albeit closely) escapes an underground prison ran by Marissa and an unknown government agency. Image courtesy of IMDB.

The most exciting scenes take place as Erik quickly defeats four men in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene, juxtaposed beautifully with the columns of an underground station, and a midnight chase among Hanna and three men through an abandoned shipping yard. In my opinion, these intense sequences are hard to look away because unlike most action flicks, a majority of the battling is with hand-to-hand combat, creating unease and excitement for the audience.

This unconventional coming of age story is packed full of action, but never overwhelming. Even during the “slower” parts (such as a chilling monologue between Blanchett and Tom Hollander in a sketchy bar), the audience dare not look away under the direction of Joe Wright. Subtle action paired with a surprising soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers makes Amanda a happy girl.

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