Hanna is part Bourne, part modern day fairy tale. It is more interested in sights, sounds, and odd characters than intricate plot development. The narrative holds together just as long as you don’t spend too much time thinking about the details.
Straight from the movie synopsis: Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenager raised and trained by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA operative, to become a highly skilled assassin. But when she’s sent on a deadly mission across Europe, Hanna takes to an English family and starts longing for a normal life.
The fairy tale elements of Hanna are important, as we have characters on the screen who make no sense otherwise. Take Cate Blanchett playing the role of the wicked witch…errr…Marissa, a CIA official. Then there is Marissa’s chosen henchman, Isaacs (Tom Hollander), sporting a 70’s track suit, slick backed blond hair and playing the part of the wolf. Isaacs even yells out from his car, “Run little piggy!” as he hunts down Hanna’s father. The final act of the movie is set in a run down Brothers Grimm theme park. If the veiled hints and references to a fairy tale were missed before, it’s hard to ignore by the last scenes of the movie.
Unlike modern day fairy tales told in cute animated flicks, Hanna never loses its grit or grasp of reality. Even while the Chemical Brothers soundtrack pumps noisy electronic tunes and the cinematography flashes (literally at times) with colorful action set pieces. The actors never break out of their character, which keeps the near perfect tone throughout. Those who need to be over the top (Blanchett and Hollander) are and those who need to be less so are just that (Ronan and Bana). There is never a sense of anyone ironically winking at the camera. The action is real and so are the stakes, even when the characters do seem straight out of the pages of children’s tales written long ago.
Hanna was entertaining throughout, avoiding the temptation to add unwieldy plot twists and characters (I’m looking at you Harry Potter). The tone of the film hit me just right. The experimentation within the action genre was a great success. While not a fan of sequels in general, I wouldn’t mind seeing Hanna 2.