Hanna (2011) – Joe Wright

Saorise Ronan headlines this coming of age action film from director Joe Wright. Not your typical action film, the story may feel familiar, but with Ronan and Wright, the film becomes something more. Joining Ronan are Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, and with a strong cast like that, you know this is going to be something different.

Hanna (Ronan) has been raised in the Arctic wilderness, raised by her father, Erik (Bana). He’s trained her to hunt, fight, be fluent in countless languages and have an encyclopedic knowledge of countless things of the world, while having no experience with any of them.

She’s ready for more, to live her life, but that requires a strange, and violent rite of passage. If she chooses to leave, she and Erik will pop back up on the radar of the CIA, specifically Marissa Wiegler (Blanchett) who was in charge of a project that Erik was involved in, has a connection to Hanna’s deceased mother, and wants Hanna under her control.

Or dead.

Travelling across North Africa and Europe, Hanna discovers the world, herself, and fights for her life, inadvertently drawing a travelling English family (Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Aldo Maland, and Jessica Barden) into her orbit, and placing them in danger.

To survive, she has to reach a theme park in Germany, and meet Erik there, after Marissa is out of the picture. But things aren’t going to be easy, as Marissa is unleashing a bizarre killer on her trail, and Hanna’s abilities will be put to the test.

Featuring a score by The Chemical Brothers which gives it a playful and fast-paced feel, the film evolves in its details, and cinematography. On its surface it feels like a teenaged Jason Bourne movie, but there’s more to it than that, Hanna is discovering who she is, who she will be, and who her family is. It’s a coming of age tale.

It had been close to a decade since I saw this film, and was quite interested to see how much I enjoyed it this time around. I love Wright’s style of storytelling, his fusing of character and action beats, and Ronan is, as always, an insanely talented actor.

Bringing in such amazing actors around her, like Bana, Blanchett, Flemyng and Williams, just bolsters the entire film, and then there are the symbols at work in the film, the look at childhood, leaving it behind, and family. All of it placed to a fun techno beat delivered by the soundtrack.

An enjoyable film that has been occasionally overlooked because of bigger films around it that seem to be similar in nature (looking at you Bourne!).

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