written by Seth Lockhead and David Farr
directed by Joe Wright
Wow. I was under the impression that this would just be a silly way to spend a couple of hours, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Hanna is certainly over the top (CIA agent goes rogue with his young daughter, whom he trains over the years as a highly efficient survivalist and killer), and the film itself is directed in a highly stylized manner. But the script keeps things grounded in real details: The way Hanna makes her first friends, discovers things like electricity, and goes on a first “date” where she’s transfixed by the joy of music.
Everything is anchored by a wonderful lead performance by Saoirse Ronan, dynamically choreographed action sequences, and an electric score by The Chemical Brothers, plus references to fairy tales and the work of the Grimm brothers (a great touch is a shot of the antagonist, played by Cate Blanchett, as she emerges from the mouth of a giant wolf’s mouth at an amusement park).
It is also telling that the very best scene in an otherwise straightforward action movie is the one where Hanna and another young girl talk secrets under a blanket and share an innocent kiss. It’s a beautiful, understated moment, and completely believable.
Carlos I. Cuevas