{2jtab: Movie Review}

Hanna - Movie Review


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5 Stars

Once upon a time, in the frozen forests of Finland, there lived away from any certain village a little feral girl, the prettiest creature who was ever seen. Her father was excessively fond of her; yet she was hated by her evil step-mother with the heart of black. This wicked witch had a vendetta made just for her. It suited the girl so extremely well that when the two would eventually meet, morgues for miles around couldn’t fill demand.

The little girl is Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), sixteen years old, motherless, and being raised by her widowed father Erik (Eric Bana), a former CIA operative, in the wilderness of Northern Finland.  Her steely-blue eyes suggest warmth, stillness and a longing for her mother’s touch. But when approached silently from behind, she roils into a whirling kill-machine that reminds of a cross between Jason Bourne and Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo.

Hanna’s only knowledge of the outside world comes from a single encyclopedia and a book of Grimm’s fairy tales. She can name the capital of any country in the world, how much a whale’s tongue weighs, and the most efficient way to kill a human. That last fact learned from her father’s teachings. Trained in espionage, weaponry, and the martial arts, he’s gearing his daughter for her entry into the real world. An entry summoned by a simple flick of a switch that signals their secret location to Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett), the cold-steel magnolia CIA agent who once worked in the field with Erik.

It’s eventually revealed that Hanna and her father are the sole survivors of a now defunct military project, once headed by Marissa, with the goal of creating genetically altered “super soldiers.” But with all evidence of the program’s existence having been destroyed, the only thing between Marissa and her covert goal is the presence of the little girl with fairy tale eyes.

Hired to track down Hanna is the stooge-like bevy of bare-headed henchmen led by a polysexual hit man (Tom Hollander) clad in disco-white and constantly whistling ominous nursery rhymes. They chase Hanna, who has hitched a ride in a fried-out kombi with a hippie British family traveling from Finland, through Morocco, and into Germany where Hanna first experiences electricity, television and the eventual real-life encounter with the big bad wolf she’s read so much about.

Artfully photographed and cleverly themed, the simple story is elevated by director Joe Wright who combines elements of a James Bond adventure thriller, and an innocent coming-of-age story, framing it all within the structure of a fairy tale. Throughout the film we experience the world as Hanna sees it, with a healthy dose of confusion lensed through a wild-eyed sense of wonder and exquisite beauty. Though well versed in book knowledge and the art of killing, Hanna is not familiar with the concept of friendship and human interaction… and it almost proves to be her undoing.

The film suffers from the occasional bout of the doldrums within its script by Seth Lochhead and David Farr. But even then, there’s always something visually or aurally stimulating going on, whether it’s the upbeat tempo of the Chemical Brothers score or the eye-candy of Sarah Greenwood’s production design that turns an abandoned amusement park into the elaborately crafted Grimm’s house, complete with garish plastic figures and colorful décor. By the way, is there any place in the world more foreboding than a dilapidated amusement park?

Wright, who takes somewhat of a leap of faith from his usual trappings, gets most of the credit for the film’s success. There’s a lot going on in the film and though he revisits familiar themes of female empowerment and psychological disecction, Hanna represents quite a stretch for the Atonement director. Successfully blending action sequences with moments of frailty and abstract vision is not an easy feat to pull off. Many try, most fail. But while Hanna won’t be for everybody, those tickled by the stewpot combination of the seemingly disparate genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and action/adventure won’t be disappointed.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Hanna - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language
Joe Wright
: Seth Lochhead and David Farr
Saoirse Ronan; Eric Bana; Cate Blanchett; Tom Hollander; Michelle Dockery
: Drama; Fantasy; Action; Adventure
Young. Sweet. Innocent. Deadly.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Adapt or die."
Focus Features
Official Site:
Release Date: April 8, 2011
Blu-ray Release Date:
September 6, 2011

Plot Synopsis: The title character of this adventure thriller, filmed in Europe, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenage girl. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a soldier; these come from being raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Cate Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity.

{2jtab: Blu-ray/DVD Review}

Hanna - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

5 Stars

Blu-ray Experience
5 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 6, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Digital copy (as download); BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features

The stellar 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that houses the beast that is Hanna is every bit as good as the film.  Details are strong throughout and the chilling atmosphere is brazenly captured with a wonderful sense of color and mood.  Wright’s direction and cinematographer Alwin H. Kuchler’s palette present a gritty and moody thriller that is handled with care on this blistering transfer.  Shadows are strong, yet never dominant and the skintones of Hanna’s actors and actresses are warmly saturated.  The sound – presented in a wonderful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track – is dynamic and soul stirring; very good job indeed on all fronts.



  • Director Joe Wright is a monster of information on this rich commentary track; rarely does he pause for a breath of air.  Full on insight on the film and its production, the track is a rare treat for cinephiles.

Special Features:

Because there is so much information unloaded upon the viewer in the commentary, Wright leaves little to be covered by the supplemental material.  What is left are a couple of intriguing looks at the stunts in the film, discussions over Hanna’s literary merits, and additional scenes.  The release also comes with a digital download of the film.  Overall, it is a good packaging and release of a great film.

  • Adapt or Die (13 min)
  • Central Intelligence Allegory (9 min)
  • Chemical Reaction (6 min)
  • Anatomy of a Scene: The Escape from Camp G (3 min)
  • Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending (5 min)
  • The Wide World of ‘Hanna’ (2 min)
  • ‘Hanna’ Promo (2 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}


And the international trailer below: