Hanna stars Academy Award nominee Saoirse Ronan, Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana. Hanna (Ms. Ronan) is a teenage girl. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a solider; these come from being raised by her father (Mr. Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Ms. Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity. Hanna also stars Jason Flemyng, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, and Martin Wuttke. Seth Lochhead wrote the initial screenplay and has written subsequent drafts, as have David Farr, Joe Penhall, and Mr. Wright. Academy Award nominee Leslie Holleran (Chocolat) is producing Hanna with the team of Marty Adelstein and Scott Nemes.
This movie has a strong enough story to sustain the viewer’s interest for the 111-minute runtime as well as a capable young talent in actress Saoirse Ronan who plays the title role of Hanna. In addition it is one of those films which prompt some thinking while the viewer is watching which usually means some intelligent writing is a factor. There is at least one exception to this but first, the good stuff. In one scene the teenage Hanna, on the run, stops at a small fleabag motel. Yet her reaction to seeing electricity at work for the first time is fascinating as it reveals her innocence despite her training as a soldier to kill if necessary. As she watches the florescent light flicker on and off while playing with the switch, in addition to watching TV for the first time, feeling the cool air from a ceiling fan and feeling a slight burn from a coffee pot, the viewer’s attention is totally captured. On the other side of the coin, a scene in which she escapes her pursuers by holding on to the bottom of a truck (think “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Indiana Jones”) is a bit too much to buy.
This is a story which reaches a full-circle conclusion as Hanna is determined to take care of the woman responsible for her mother’s death. The closeness she shares with her father, played by Eric Bana, and the friendship (her first one) she develops with a fellow teen girl is touching, although the brief scene in which she kisses her friend on the lips was awkward and totally unnecessary. However, it is the strong language and violence level, at times bloody and graphic, which prevents us from awarding our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to this film.