Finally, after a bit of a wait, we get to see an action film with a strong female lead who is not dressed up in a small piece of latex or as some sort of femme fatale.
Nor does she have the personality of a tough and seasoned prostitute totally lacking in refinement and book smarts (though paradoxically an expert on advanced weapon systems!). Our leading lady this time around, though very pretty, is not necessarily meant to be an aphrodisiac. She is of a very high intelligence.
In “Hanna,” our hero is young and is abnormal; she has had, through a failed CIA experiment, her DNA modified to make her stronger, smarter and less compassionate. “A better fighting machine,” the movie calls her.
Yet, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is still someone the average young girl or woman – or anyone for that matter – can look up to. She is a strong and independent girl; and she seriously kicks some ass. This is all due to her father, Erik (Eric Bana), a former clandestine government agent, having raised her in the freezing cold near the Arctic Circle. In a hostile environment where it is not possible to simply go down to the supermarket for daily meals, Hanna has learned from birth to be self-sufficient.
And despite the fact that Hanna has not exactly been socialized like most people in the world (she is still a bit wild around the edges), Erik has prepared her for the inevitable. From the time she was a young girl, he has been training her to survive in practically every situation. And now she must run from the CIA agent who over-saw the failed experiment which created Hanna if she is to survive.
“Hanna” is filled with action scene after action scene, which is what you expect from action movies, after all. It is great to watch this young girl fight because she does it so well. The story is interesting and mysterious (despite a few hard-to-believe moments), feeding into any government paranoia we may harbor.
There are some places, however, where the story lulls. The cinematography and design are beautiful. And the soundtrack, which features original new music by the Chemical Brothers, is perfect; it adds to the tension without giving anything away (or getting in the way).
The acting is well done by all, but Cate Blanchett is remarkable and convincing as Marissa, the CIA agent charged with tracking down Erik and his wayward daughter. It is enjoyable to watch her play this character and is yet another example of her impressive versatility.
There is nothing deep and metaphorical about “Hanna,” but it is quality entertainment.
“Hanna” shows daily at the Ashland Street Cinema.