The Little Girl that Could: Hanna, A Movie Review

We are always on the lookout for movies that celebrate female empowerment, emphasize girl power through kickassery and/or displays intelligence as the basis of a character instead of the tired Hollywood standard of a vacuous femme with a pretty face. So after seeing the trailer for Hanna, the first thought we had was, “We must see this”. As luck would have it, Veronica scored us a prescreen pass for the advance viewing last night at Scotiabank Theatre.

Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement), 16 year old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones, Atonement) was raised in the forest by her widowed father Erik (Eric Bana, Hulk, Star Trek). But her upbringing isn’t that simple. Erik has trained her to be the perfect soldier. Her killer instincts, strength and ability to think on her feet have made her into the perfect little assassin. Award winning actress Cate Blanchett (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)is Marissa, a CIA agent who, for reasons of her own, wants Erik and Hanna dead and will stop at nothing to make it so.

This latest role for Ronan is a far cry from her previous projects but she has hit her stride in this. Not just with the fact that as Hanna, Ronan was required to run for the majority of the film, but also in her ability to look at the world with curious eyes all the while projecting extreme intelligence, resourcefulness and full use of her physical abilities. Having been raised in isolation her entire life, Hanna’s abrupt immersion into the real world was a sensory overload. She’s innocent, guileless and deadly. Not only was it entertaining to see her assimilate and blend in but her straight and to the point answers to even the mundane questions were hilarious.

The soundtrack was composed entirely by the Chemical Brothers and perfectly reflects the ever changing mood of the movie with hard, driven electronic forces that mirror Hanna’s dangerous journey. The shift to this new trend of using just one group or artist for a movie, a la Daft Punk for Tron: Legacy or Trent Reznor for The Social Network, is a brilliant idea and one that we applaud.

While clearly laid out motives and back stories may be missing, Hanna was definitely refreshing and reaffirmed our love of the cinema. Reminiscent of a Bourne-esque movie, with the ruthless battles and seemingly endless chase through Europe, this tale of a killer child is a joyous, adrenaline fueled ride that we didn’t want to end. And the fact that someone out there can make a movie with a female heroine that does not rely on female wiles to get her way hit us right in the heart.

images from google images