Hanna is an unconventional action flick - it focuses on a teenager who kicks butt and does so without regret or emotion. Saoirse Ronan is remarkable as Hanna and shows her extreme versatility with an entirely different character.
Ronan re-teams with director Joe Wright for his first foray into action movies (known for films like Atonement and Pride and Prejudice), and although there are some areas that could have been better, it's a pretty good first attempt.
Ronan plays Hanna, a girl who has been raised by her ex-CIA father (Eric Bana) to be a ruthless killer. She lives in the forest just miles away from the Arctic Circle and learns to survive in the harshest conditions. They have been in hiding all Hanna's life in order to keep her safe from intelligence agent Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett), a woman who plays a large role in Hanna's father's past.
When Hanna deliberately reveals their location, the father/daughter duo split up and agree to meet in Germany. Hanna must protect herself as Weigler launches into a full blown pursuit of her. On her journey she meets a British family on holiday and learns a little bit about love and human interaction from them, particularly befriending the teenage daughter Sophie.
Hanna lacks any knowledge of the outside world or any inherent social skills - the only information she knows is from an encyclopedia and she can recite it with complete ease and confidence. It is an interesting aspect of the film and one that provides depth to Hanna's character and makes her situation and life much more believable. It would make sense that a girl living in the wild would act this way.
Ronan is perfect in her role and play the part with a natural ease that makes her completely believable. She is a very talented young actress and has proven her versatility on the big screen. She can even hold her own in the action sequences, which she hasn't done much to date.
Relatively unknown actress Jessica Barden plays the role of Sophie, a teenage girl Hanna befriends on her journey. Barden provides a breath of fresh air in the otherwise tense film. Her lines are hilarious and she delivers them with a believability that creates a great juxtaposition to Ronan's Hanna.
There is a bit of a twist in the film, which I won't give away, that you realize close to the end, but it's not anything extremely exciting or revealing. The twist is meant to help people understand why Hanna has been trained the way she has, but it isn't built up enough and doesn't provide a satisfying answer to her life. Something in the storyline needs to be tweaked a little bit to make this a better plot twist to shock and thrill audiences.
Joe Wright does a pretty good job making the leap from historical fiction to action-adventure film. He tries to give the movie a certain European feel, but it comes across as a little too silly with a lot of Euro electro music and strobe lights. It takes away from the harshness and serious nature of the film.
Overall, Hanna is a nice change from a lot of the films that are released these days. It is an entirely new premise and a refreshing look at the strong female lead. Many people just accept a man without emotions, but assume a woman will be consumed by them, it's nice to see a female action star keep her cool.