Perhaps it's because the culture shock part of the film was overplayed - young Hanna, for all her skills (knowing all about a lot of things but having no practical experience with them - like electricity for example), is too often portrayed as a fish out of water, a overused theme that quickly becomes tiresome.
The film starts well enough, giving you ample time to get the feel for Hanna's secluded life in rural Finland, being "homeschooled" by her father - though I had issues with his reading simple texts to her while she is able to speak a dozen languages. This is explained, sort of, when the CIA gets involved, but remained irksome.
There is a backstory that I'm not going to reveal, only to say that the whole CIA black ops thing is really a poor motivation for the actions of agent Mirissa, played as an ice queen by Blanchett- though she is wonderful in the part.
Perhaps it is all this murkiness that bothers me - falling back on the old CIA cover up for things they shouldn't have been playing with in the first place takes the viewer down a very familiar path, already done to death by Bourne and M.I. franchises. That this film has some really nice action sequences and some artsy fartsy film shots is all fine and well, but doesn't hide the fact that at it's core this film has been done hundred of times before. Too bad, as the director seems to have a firm handle on what is being presented, and the acting is solid... but the script, especially during the girl meets the real world segments, and the final action packed quarter of the film, could have certainly been tighter(though I have to admit the use of the quirky derelict amusement park was wonderful).
I also found that the film's ending, echoing the beginning, was a bit over the top - as if the screen writer got this brilliant, last second idea that it would be really cool to have Hanna say the same words at the end that she says at the beginning - only problem is that it comes off very juvenile and let's your mind think "oh come on, you couldn't have come up with something better? How about "Hasta la vista, baby"? Yeah, maybe that'll sell in the heartland.
It's about a genetically modified child who's been bred to be an international spy and murderer who's kept cloistered in the Arctic by her spy father (Eric Bana, solid as a rock) till she becomes a teen. This girl has never seen electricity in action, but speaks every known language and can kill any wild animal (and any human) that she faces with her super human strength and intelligence. Idiotic, but so well executed and visually interesting that you won't care.
When Hanna hits the world, she's hunted by Marissa, the CIA hack who created her, an evil Kate Blanchett in her worst ever movie role (and I love her in everything else). She is such an over the top cackling villainess, that she stops being interesting.
Even that doesn't matter, because young Siorise Ronan is mezmerizing and the main reason to see this film. The idea of a super genius who's also a naive lamb in the woods is illogical and almost impossible to pull off, but this gifted kid (Atonement) does it. This kid never met another human being besides her fur clad dad, but she has such powers of perception and intuition that when she goes into civilization, she anticipates everyone's moves, two moves ahead, except when it's not convenient for the plot and then she's totally at sea.
There is so much originality and imagination brought to the genre, that Hanna's silly fable like quality is outweighed by all that's good about this. If director Joe Wright could make this one succeed, imagine if he had a great script to direct? (Well, he did Atonement, so another great script, go Joe!)
What sets this movie apart is the character of Hanna herself. She is a formidable weapon, but none of her training/home schooling included any real information about the world or any kind of socialization. The middle section of the film, when Hanna is on the run across North Africa and Europe, is really the most interesting because it shows her discovering the world, and having to learn on her own things that everyone should know by the age of 16, and how to really become more human. It's kinda like the scenes in Terminator 2 where John tries to show how the terminator how to better pass himself off as a human.
So yeah, this movie is a mixture of spy thriller intrigue, pulse pounding action, and a coming of age character study. I think director Joe Wright described it as a drama with some action scenes, or something along those lines. This is a lot of stuff to try to blend together and make work ,and for the most part, it does. It's not the most original film, but it is nonetheless a very solid and stylish attempt at making old new.
The cinematography is top notch, complete with some great landscape shots, and some cool sequences involving lots of pulsing lights and flashy colors. Wright is known for his use of long takes, and that applies here, though unlike what he did in Atonement (of which I've only seen just a few scenes) his use of them is far more restrained and not self indulgant or pretentious. The score is done by techno duo The Chemical Brothers and, though I'm not a big fan of techno, I do kinda like it, and it works decently here, though some of the sequences do comes as like a music video at times.
As far as acting goes, this is another piece of evidence to show why Saoirse Ronan is an actress that is one to watch and should have a long career ahead of her. The role of Hanna is a tough one, and she does really well and is convincing with both the intensely physical side of things, but more importantly with the more human side as well. She can both kick ass and perfectly pull off the effects of isolation and lack of socialization. Eric Bana is decent enough as her father Erik, and Cate Blanchett takes what could have been a routine and boring antagonist role and breathes a bit of life into it. Tom Hollander was decently creepy and intimidating as one of the men hunting Hanna, but sadly underdeveloped and flat.
All in all, I enjoyed this quite a bit. It's stylish, holds your attention, and gives depth and substance to the well worn action revenge thriller. It's not totally original, but it's very solid. I do have some complaints, though. The little British girl was really annoying and got on my nerves way too often, Blanchett's accent stuck out and seemed unnecessary, and some of the symbolism seemed a bit more obvious and forced than it should have. I also could have used a few more crazy and kinetic action scenes, but that's a minor quibble.
All that aside, this is a pretty good film and it gets the job done better than most other action films as of late. As far as the rating, I give it around a very strong B to a light B+
Summary: Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenager raised and trained by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA operative, to become a highly skilled assassin. But when she's sent on a deadly mission across Europe, Hanna takes to an English family and starts longing for a normal life. She must first solve the puzzle of her mysterious past, however.
My Thoughts: "The movie 'Hannah', was a great thriller. The idea of the film is fresh and original which really made it more enjoyable. Saoirse Ronan is a force to recognize. She is a very talented young actress. Saoirse was very good in the movie. Very impressed with her acting skills. Eric Bana was also really good in the film. This is the first time I think I've seen Cate Blanchett play the 'bad guy'. She did it well. Jessica Barden was great as well, she was very funny in the movie. The film itself is an intense, dark, unsettling suspense thriller. I thought the pacing of the movie was good. Great concept, acting, direction makes this a film to see at least once."
The filming location had much diversity
A great revenge film
The substance is in the style.