Well, what we have here is basically one of the Bourne films, but with a 16 year-old girl. There's a bit more to it, but that's a pretty good way to generalize it. Hanna has spent her whole life living in isolation in the Finnish wilderness. Her father Erik is ex-CIA and has passed down to her his knowledge of comabt and survival, making her a skilled assassin, preparing to send her out into the world to assassinate a ruthless intelligence operative Marissa Wiegler, a woman with some dark secrets.
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+