Energy. A feeling so often portrayed yet so rarely conveyed in the movies these days. A feeling that often times eludes the films that are supposed to thrill us the most. It doesn’t elude “Hanna”. “Hanna” is about a trained, seasoned assassin on the run from CIA captors, with the twist that said assassin is a 16-year old girl, the title character.
Where this film gains its energy isn’t merely the fact that Hanna is constantly in motion, be it running, fighting, jumping, hiding. Rather, through a masterful blending of several elements: Cinematography, whose style adapts whenever the scene demands it: Elegant long takes in some instances, The music, scored by electronic duo The Chemical Brothers, which uses throbbing beats and clashing sounds to complement the on-screen chaos and destruction. Masterfully choreographed (and more importantly, really exciting) action, fought between characters that are thoroughly developed if not always sympathetic.
It goes on. All of these elements, however varied and seemingly unconnected, come together in an unconventional, offbeat way that is, frankly, unlike any movie I’ve ever seen. ”Hanna” is an engaging, thought-provoking drama and character study, that just so happens to have incredibly exciting action sequences throughout. It’s a dream mix.
Saoirse Ronan, whose work in “Atonement” and “The Lovely Bones” had highly impressed me, cements herself as no less than the greatest teenage actress working today. Her work as Hanna is deeply complex, portraying a person whose social skills are that of a toddler yet whose combat skills are that of a seasoned soldier. Ronan can effortlessly transition from vulnerability to blind fury and violence, sometimes in the same scene. She’s fantastic, bringing gravitas and physicality to this odd coming-of-age-tale.
Although Ronan is undoubtedly the star of the show, there’s alot of great actors showcased on the side. Eric Bana plays Hanna’s father, who’s mentored her and taught her all her skills. He’s long been an actor that I feel hasn’t gotten as much work as he deserves, and his great work here only makes me wonder why I’m not seeing him in more stuff. Cate Blanchett, though, is a total scene-stealer here. She plays the CIA agent devoted to wiping Hanna out, and is a total blast to watch. Given that Blanchett has a penchant for more meaty, awards-fodder parts, seeing her cut loose a bit is great.
In short, “Hanna” gave me all that I’ve been looking for. It’s a heavy, complex drama that still entertained and enthralled me every step of the way. A