Hanna is a film centering around a young 16-year-old girl who has been trained exclusively her entire life by her father to become a well-trained and highly skilled assassin to gain revenge on the woman responsible for murdering her mother. However along her journey she learns a startling truth about herself that her father neglected to reveal. I consider this film to be kind of like Run Lola, Run in terms of filming styles, and a mixture of Bourne Identity, Dark Angel and Francine Pascal's Fearless series with the action/mystery, the latter rather significantly as I kept referring Hanna to Gaia Moore quite frequently throughout watching the film.
While this has plenty of action and stylistic scenes, this is mostly a story about a girl who, after years and years of seclusion, comes to her own as an individual and learns more about the world than all her training could ever had prepared her for. This includes making friends, learning how the real world works which isn't her usual surroundings when she was living deep in the woods, and adapting to her surroundings the best she can. Hanna also learns the truth about her existence and why this woman, Marissa Viegler, killed her mother and is so adamant in going after her and her father. It's definitely a coming-of-age story of this girl and her discoveries of the world which she left unprepared for and has to make due with this mission she has to accomplish. There are several scenes that demonstrate how even the simplest of things, such as electricity and electrical appliances, are such a foreign concept to her. Even music, which is something she never had experienced before (only knew by definition) and during a point in the movie we see how it moves her so deeply, it nearly brings tears to her eyes. She also learns the value of friendship, as quirky as it was, and other life lessons from those she encountered along her journey. Hanna adapts very well considering this is the first time she has ventured out by herself in a strange new land that wasn't her regular forest surroundings, but it's endearing seeing her reactions and how she manages.
The father-daughter relationship is rather interesting, because you can tell that her father loved her very dearly, however you can sense how reluctant and hesitant he was about telling her the entire truth. He wanted to protect her to best he could, but there's only so much you can hide before the past comes back to bite you in the ass. Which is exactly what happened leading to a rocky confrontation towards the end, and an unfortunate fate for her father when he does whatever he can to protect her. :(
Sometimes, parents have to make those sacrifices so their children can come into their own. That past came back to haunt him and the only way to free himself from it is to let her go and surrender himself. I do think that, despite their confrontation, Hanna knew that her father loved her regardless and vice versa.
And then we have Marissa Viegler. Apparently she was the only one left that knew about the top secret government project in altering DNA and creating these super soldiers, aside from Erik (the father) and of course Hanna, the last remaining child of the experiment, and obviously there was some cover-up and her bending the rules so nothing could be found out on her end, which meant after Erik had finally resurfaced on the government's radar to exterminate him and the girl. Closed file, nothing left but her knowledge of the experiment. Of course, this leads to more problematic matters when she and Hanna finally face-off in the end, and perhaps she realizes that these ghosts from the past also come back to haunt her when Hanna justifiably kills her in the final shot of the entire film.
I particularly liked the completion of everything coming full-circle symbolically; we see Hanna with the deer in the beginning of the film, which is paralleled in the very end when she shoots Marissa, saying the line "I just missed your heart." Which is the first line she said in the movie, and is the last line she spoke.
The film is stylistic in filming techniques, unique tricks that aren't what you would normally see in Hollywood movies, and the story is sort of like The Bourne Identity but with a teenage girl and it's not all action scenes with guns blazing. It is something special and it leaves you rooting for our protagonist as we see her through her journey.
Saoirse Ronan, who plays Hanna, is quite an exceptional actress in her own right. She gets physical in this movie while maintaining a childlike innocence and curiosity that makes you kind of want to comfort her when she's amongst the harshness of the world around her that she's not accustomed to. But of course, she is quite deadly in spite of that childlike wonder, and I think that's the beauty which Saoirse brings to the role. What attracted me to this film initially was the trailer, it gripped me from right then and I knew I had to see it. It's a girl kicking some ass, who wouldn't want to see something like this? And the story, while there are still some questions and holes here and there that slightly puzzle me such as what's going to happen to Hanna now, is she going to continue to adapt in this world by herself, etc and so forth. Nonetheless, it's still pretty damn good of a movie.
From the story and the cinematography, the direction and the acting especially, it's a film I'd see again, most definitely.
Overall: I highly recommend this film, without a doubt. I think it'll surprise many people just as it surprised me. If you like something that is an action-packed thriller, a kickass girl who is hardcore to the max while going through a self-discovery phase in learning about herself and who she is, then this is definitely the film for you. The film also has a fairytale-esque feel to it, and intentional move by the director to give it that whimsical feel along with the dramatic thriller aspects. Trust me, you'll want to check Hanna out to see what the buzz is all about.
Oh, I also recommend the soundtrack as well, all done by The Chemical Brothers. Take a listen.
Bonus? Olivia Williams (Adelle DeWitt from Dollhouse) appears in this film. Surprised? I totally was. ^_^