Hanna (DVD Cover)

Cast: Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), Erik (Eric Bana), Marissa (Cate Blanchett), Isaacs (Tom Hollander), Rachel (Olivia Williams), Sebastian (Jason Flemyng), Sophie (Jessica Barden)

Director: Joe Wright

Theatrical release: 04/08/2011
DVD Date: 09/06/2011

Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 111 minutes

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Review: The principal cast in the thriller Hanna contribute exceptional performances, which is all the more important to the film's success since there really isn't much of a story for them to perform in.

The film opens in some remote, Arctic region, where Erik (Eric Bana) and his daughter Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) are living a primitive existence, eating game they catch and heating and lighting their cabin by fire. Erik has trained Hanna to be a formidable hunter and tireless athlete, but he's also taught her speak several languages and a vast, if esoteric, knowledge of life outside their isolated world, most of which she has never seen and likely never will. What seems to intrigue her most, however, is music. One day Erik offers her the opportunity to leave, but with a catch: he tells her that they will be pursued by ruthless killers, and they when, not if, she meets up with them, she must kill them before they kill her. They agree to meet in Berlin at some point in the near.

Hanna triggers a device that alerts Marissa (Cate Blanchett), a covert government agent, of their location, and the cat-and-mouse games begin. Erik leaves, allowing Hana to be (intentionally) captured. She's taken to an underground facility in Morocco, where she promptly kills her captors, including the woman she believes murdered her mother. But Marissa is too smart for her, and sends a decoy instead. But Hanna thinks her mission is complete, and proceeds to meet up with her father in Berlin.

Saoirse Ronan is simply brilliant in her role here, and since she's in most every frame of the film, that's a good thing. Cate Blanchett's portrayal of a cool, icy really, emotionless assassin is also spot on. And even though Eric Bana isn't in the film all that much after the opening scenes, it's easy to picture him as a one-time agent, smart and efficient, who simply got tired of all the killing and simply wanted to be a father to his young daughter.

Some of the filming locations are quite remarkable, in particular the final scenes set at an abandoned amusement park in Berlin. The setting here in many ways mirrors Hanna's limited view of the world and is ideally chosen.

What the film sorely lacks is a story. One might argue that the cat-and-mouse aspect is an acceptable premise for a story, but for whatever reason it seems insufficient here. There are flashbacks to how Hanna lost her mother, and how she and her father escaped, but the real reason for what happened in the past isn't revealed until very close to the end, and it's not all that much of a revelation.

I enjoyed Hanna and recommend it, but do advise that you not expect more than a really fine chase film.


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Watch a trailer for the film below:

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