It’s a lot of fun to watch a child discover the world around them. What can be even more fascinating is watching a teenage girl go through the same discoveries because she has been sheltered from the harsh realities of life, such is the case in Joe Wright’s movie Hanna. In the movie, Hanna played by Saoirse Ronan was trained by her father to be an assassin as a way of preparing her for the world she has never been a part of. Hanna decides that her father Erik played by Eric Bana, an ex CIA operative is overprotective and she gains freedom literally at the press of a button. The problem with being given this freedom is that her DNA and the skills taught to her by her father are special and Erik’s former handler and boss wants to find and study Hanna. What this leads to is Hanna exploring the world she has never known while being hunted by deadly assassins.
If The Bourne Identity had been about a girl and she was a teenager with no memory, I am sure the film would have closely resembled Hanna. This film is as much about self discovery as it is about the bond and value of family. I think the whole reason this film works is because Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana seem like a very cohesive yet dysfunctional family unit. While Hanna is out discovering how the rest of the works, Eric is tracking down his old handler Marissa played by the charming and intense Cate Blanchett. The other reason this film works is because it draws from pieces of classic literature. I tend to think of Hanna as Alice and the real world we all live in as Wonderland. Saoirse explores her environment the same way a newborn child would and not only is that refreshing but it engages us in her journey. The director Joe Wright who is well known for directing Atonement works hard to capture the playful curiosity Hanna displays and the intense danger around every corner as she explores. This film isn’t for everyone. I have no doubt that the pacing may turn some people off of the film but it’s the journey of Hanna that makes the film interesting.