A fascinating film about espionage and revenge, Hanna, is also about a young girl growing up and discovering the world. Teenage Hanna (played by wondrous Saoirse Ronan) has been trained throughout the years by assassin father, Erik Heller (strict and to-the-point Eric Bana), about the horrors of the world: a world that is set on killing her as soon as she makes herself known. The person who wants both of them is dead is CIA agent, Melissa Wiegler (played by the unforgettable Cate Blanchett), who wants nothing but a quick clean-up to the mess she started with Hanna’s father years ago.
Years of training and extreme forms of conditioning are forced upon Hanna, but the one thing she never was able to do was attempt to lead a normal life. This is where the film really becomes fascinating. On one hand, you get a fast-paced action/drama on a constant run. On the other hand, you get a tender portrait of a teenager slowly learning what else she can become in this life, in a normal sense, and how the good people and bad people she encounters will have a grand effect on her.
Director Joe Wright weaves this tale with a wonderful sense of European beauty akin to the films of Ingmar Bergman and the intense grit of Sam Peckinpah. Hanna may be running for her life, but she slowly begins to understand what is to be a young woman. She meets a fellow precocious teenage girl who introduces her to young men, she meets a kind family, she is horrified by the novelty of a television set, and she is fascinated by her father’s old amusement park-savvy friend. This is juxtaposed with intensely cold-blooded scenes of Melissa Weigler closing in on Hanna with various hired guns. She just does not stop until everyone close to Hanna is either on her side or underneath the ground she walks on. Hanna is a beautifully woven, coming-of-age thriller.