The film Hanna is a typical coming of age story. When it opens in a tundra setting, the protagonist Hanna is doing what all 16 year old girls like to do on the weekend: hunting a wild reindeer. After she has successfully killed her target, a man sneaks up on her and the two engage in a brief but tense fight. It’s apparent that neither are fighting to hurt the other, and it turns out the man is her father, and that this is just another Saturday morning for the two. It is revealed that Hanna and her father have been living on their own, completely disconnected from civilization as we know it and her father has brought her up to be a deadly assassin and a walking encyclopedia. She may not have a driver’s license like most girls want at her age, but she can snap your neck in less than three seconds flat.
Hanna is a breath of fresh air into the stale genre that is suspense thriller. During the very few and surprisingly brief action scenes, the camera rarely cuts away (a cheap trick that way too many action blockbusters are guilty of these days). What’s particularly engaging about this thriller is that director Joe Wright is more interested in the development of Hanna’s character than he is in staging those elaborate action sequences, and it makes for a very rewarding hybrid of traditional coming of age story and international espionage thriller, all filtered through a fairy tale lens. It’s a testament to Joe Wright’s talent that the film comes off as anything but a mess, despite all this mixing and matching.
Saoirse Ronan (I don’t know how to pronounce it either) gives a very nuanced performance in Hanna, as a teenage girl by loyalty to her father and the desire to grow up independently from him. The film is at its best when it follows Hanna’s travels with a lovable family of tourists and explores how far removed she really is from society. Hanna is a grade A anti-thriller that excels when it’s pulling its punches instead of throwing them.
View the theatrical trailer below and find the DVD in our collection!