Hanna PosterRating: ★★★★½

I viewed “Hanna” with a mild curiosity. It feels that it started out as an average revenge thriller that was later enhanced by above average talents. The cast and crew of this film did more for the story that it could have asked of them. Sure, a lot of shooting and chasing goes around, but you can sense an evidence of planning and patience within them. The creators of “Hanna” operated with a vision of an audience with an attention span slightly longer than that of others.

The film opens somewhere near the Arctic Circle. A teenage girl, named Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), has just killed a deer with an arrow, followed by a bullet. She drags the carcass of the animal through the deep, icy snow to a cabin in the woods where her father, Erik (Eric Bana), is waiting for her. Not the best conditions for a teenage girl, I’m sure. We learn that father and daughter have been in this place since Hanna was still an infant. She has been homeschooled all her life. And because Erik is a wanted CIA agent, he forms Hanna into the perfect assassin.

Not everyone gets to master martial arts and firearms at that early age, and the secluded home of Hanna offers little distractions. But, this lifestyle is not without disadvantages. Except for her own father, Hanna has not known any other person. Her books tell her that the world contains so much, and she knows that she is a stranger to almost all of them. That is probably why she was more than eager to find out that her mission will require her to travel in order to eliminate lots of bad guys, including a secretive CIA officer, Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett).


“Hanna” is less about a plot to assassinate a group of government officials and more about a young girl’s opportunity to discover what it’s like to have a normal life. It’s an interesting and amusing sight to see a girl who has as much awkwardness in her as there is violence. For Hanna, escaping maximum security and assassinating countless of men is the easy part. One of her biggest challenges involves a loud TV and a remote control that she cannot quite understand. Maybe this is why it’s possible for me to like a killer like Hanna and despise a killer like Hitgirl from “Kick-Ass”. Hitgirl is merely identified as a weapon; Hanna is treated like a person.

Saoirse Ronan agreeing to play Hanna is a good sign. Most actresses who started out young in Hollywood usually stray away from good movies as they get older. (What was Lindsay Lohan’s next great starring role after “Mean Girls”?) Saoirse is in the right direction, who always looks for roles that would expand her abilities in acting. Did you know that she was nominated for an Oscar at age thirteen? This girl is a gem, and also, the second prettiest girl my eyes have ever seen.

Saoirse Ronan

The care given to the development of the characters is extended towards the action sequences. Most action sequences of recent years, which are especially true to 2011, are composed of nothing but bits of frames spliced and edited back together in order to form something… anything… that resembles movement. Directors who resolve to quick cuts are either lazy of their work or uninformed of their craft. The director here is Joe Wright, who is known for his long, continuous, and uninterrupted shots. This is the first time he has done an action picture, and has already proven himself more competent with the genre than someone like Paul W. S. Anderson. Wright’s steady direction, accompanied by a magnetic soundtrack by The Chemic Brothers, is a pleasure for both the eyes and the ears.

“Hanna” is a great film and a fine example of filmmaking. Because action films are more familiar with the public, my hope is that many people will see it, and be astonished by its superiority. My honest hope is that this will cause them to raise their standards, and start looking for more of its kind. People who take serious time to defend something like “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” only tells me that they haven’t seen anything better than it.

We have a long way to go, dear reader. Did you know that “Hanna”, an action picture, was not even released here in my country? I’m starting to think that the Philippines has a grudge against good movies. Or maybe it just doesn’t know what a good movie looks like.

NOTE: Oh, glorious joy! My prayers have been answered! “Hanna”, which was originally denied a June release date here in the Philippines, will be granted a much delayed September 28 release. Even though this is a little too late for me, since I have already seen the film, I celebrate. I can now move on to my next prayer: “May the disgusting, delusional Metro Manila Film Festival be cancelled this year, so theaters can make way for Better Movies.” It doesn’t take an intelligent explanation why I’d rather watch the latest films of Spielberg and Scorsese than the 12th, or is it 13th, “Shake Rattle & Roll” film.

UPDATE (11/14/11): “Hanna” was also denied of the September release date, adding it to the pile of good movies that never made it to the Philippines.


  1. It will be released. I saw its trailer at Mega Mall while watching “Zombadings” and actually remembered you because of the main actress Saoirse Ronan.

    • I have added an extra paragraph in my review, which explains some of the details that I got wrong. So I’m a bit shocked that it will get the release date it deserves after all. But not as shocked as finding out you watched a movie called, “Zombadings”. Haha

      • Ahh good to hear!
        I would like to clarify that I watched “Zombadings” because I am a big fan of zombies(cough). And being the zombie fan that I am, I am not gender biased as to what sexual preference my undead entertainment chooses to portray.
        …I just watched it cause my college friends wanted it. Yes, I have sinned.

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