“Hanna”, starring Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett and Saoirse Ronan as the title character, is a film about a sixteen year old girl, hidden away in the forest by her father, who has been training her to be the perfect assassin her whole life, not so that she will kill for money but to prepare her for the life she will have once she chooses to be a part of society and face the ruthless intelligence agent who is trying to hunt them down.
I enjoyed “Hanna”, I felt that it was a very interesting film, not overly visually engaging, but the energy held my attention. The film relies on a transition between fast moving action and stagnant emotional responses, dispersed with a somewhat jarring sound track by the Chemical Brothers. Hanna is another of those films that doesn’t quite realize what it wants to be. On one hand you have a very serious character study, that delves into the confusion of coming of age with your feelings of alienation being doubled and then on the other hand you have a highly energetic and experimental urban film, which mixes surreal lighting and sound with some street credibility. It can feel quite pretentious, but still you are enjoying it while it happens.
Saoirse is an excellent actress, I loved her in “The Lovely Bones” (2009) and I am glad she now has the chance to play the fighter, not the victim. She has a very powerful sense of innocence about her, which suits the two opposing elements of her character. She has the characteristics of a wild animal, innocent and beautiful yet foreign and dangerous. Her gaze is often blank but I felt that this was appropriate as she plays a person who has been thrown into a world she has been sheltered from her entire life, she is blinded by a million experiences never felt before. Eric Bana was very cool in this role, his action sequences were the best in the film and he never had to explain his determination, it was all there in his expression. What let him down was his accent; Australian accents are hard to shake. Cate Blanchett’s character was subtly brilliant. The two most recent things I had seen her in disappointed me because she is a fantastic actress. You can tell she is not fond of putting accents on as she has a tendency to over do it but her character was the most intriguing in the film. I felt there was something so much deeper to her than just maliciousness there was a yearning, a repulsion, a tendency to punish herself. Good acting is never having to tell these things, we should just feel them.
The music was really energetic and added to the surreal feel of the film. The whole movie makes you feel like you are travelling with Alice, falling down the rabbit hole. There are fairy tale undertones throughout the whole film, but it feels more like an acid trip than a fairy tale and the theme shifts too often, pick one and develop it from there if that is where you want to go. “Hanna” was an above average film, which felt more like an experience or an experiment more than a narrative. I really enjoyed watching Hanna and she convinced me and never slipped. It is a pity that this film has the potential to be a blockbuster but won’t be because the title character isn’t sexy enough. The acting made this film great but the shifting styles made me question myself.
I give Hanna 3 and a half stars out of 5.
You can check out the trailer for Hanna here and is in cinemas on the 28th July.