“Hanna” Movie Review

     The film "Hanna" is the brain child of filmmaker Joe Wright, whose previous credits include films such as "The Soloist" and "Atonement".  To say "Hanna" is a sharp departure from his past work would be an understatement.  He again is working with top shelf talent such as Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, and Saoirse Ronan, but this time the story is a classic revenge film with a few twists and enough action sequences to satisfy even the most demanding of summer film crowds.  The biggest difference between Hanna and the many mindless action films this year (such as "Battle: LA") is every set piece has a purpose and it is clear from the very beginning there is a story to be told here.

     Hanna begins by immediately introducing our title character (Ronan) as she is hunting deer with a bow in a wintery forrest environment.  When she shoots and kills the deer, she coldly stands over her prey and exclaims "I barely missed your heart." Hanna continues this type of fearless mentality throughout the film.  Her father, Erik (Bana), has raised her since birth in the wilds of Finland and has trained her to survive and kill.  Hanna is highly skilled in martial arts and weapons, is a physical specimen, and speaks countless languages fluently.  She knows nothing of technology or even electricity for that matter.  She does seem curious of what it would be like to live the normal life she reads about in books and at times is lonely and wants a friend.

     Problem is, her father is an ex CIA operative whom the agency is still looking for and when they are found, Erik has already escaped, but Hanna is taken captive.  Enter the evil Marissa, played with devilish appeal by Cate Blanchett, the CIA agent sent to capture Erik and his daughter.  Not all is as it seems in Hanna and viewers are treated to something more than the standard action fare.  Wright turns up the creative flare and really seems to drench each and every scene with cool visuals, slick camera work, and editing to the beat of The Chemical Brothers techo score.

     The character diversity in the film really brings the proceedings to life. As complications arise, Marissa hires a German hit man to aid her in capturing Hanna while she concentrates on Erik. When she hires him, she delivers the line "I need you to do things my agency won't let me do" with such evil calm that her experience with the nefarious practically oozes off of her.  After viewing Hanna, I find myself really becoming a Cate Blanchett fan.  By the way, this hit man  has bleach blonde spiked hair and wears white short running shorts with white dress shoes and no socks!  His henchmen are dressed like skin heads, complete with shaved heads and knee high black boots with their jeans tucked into them.  When these guys are on screen one must take notice because they are simply not your run of the mill bad guys.  Also notable is the British family whose daughter befriends Hanna while they're on holiday in Morocco.

     As the film comes to a close, there are several revelations about all of the main characters and the films secrets are revealed.  Why did Eric raise Hanna in the wild and teach her to be the perfect assassin? Why is it so crucial for Marissa to kill Erik and capture Hanna?  Essentially, the filmmakers have taken the Bourne/Bond formula and given it a much needed face lift.  We still get the European locations, the vile bad guys, and the rogue agents, but Hanna brings the genre to another level of artiness that sets it apart and helps it stand on it's own.  I hope the upcoming flock of action films take note. GRADE: B+