Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) lives alone with her father Erik Heller ( Eric Bana) in an isolated cabin in Finland. He has trained her to hunt and to defend herself and raised her to be the perfect assassin, always prepared for danger. He gives her a full book-based education and teaches her to speak many languages. Although he tells her about things like music and fairy tales he does not let her hear any. He also makes her rehearse a fake biography as a cover story.
He has prepared her all her life for a mission, to kill CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) and as soon as she thinks she is ready he gives her a transmitter that will alert the CIA of their location. Hanna activates the transmitter and prepares for the CIA’s arrival. Heller arranges to rendezvous with Hanna in Berlin and leaves.
Armed agents surround the cabin and after a small token amount of lethal resistance Hanna is captured and taken to a base to be interrogated. Wiegler watches the interview remotely as they tell Hanna they want to know where Heller is. The agency is particularly worried that he has a lot of secrets that they don’t want divulged. Hanna won’t talk except to repeat her cover story and demand that Marissa Wiegler comes to talk to her in person.
Wiegler is shocked to hear Hanna use her name but she knows something is wrong and sends a decoy agent wearing a red-haired wig to match Wiegler’s physical description and coaches her remotely through an earpiece. It seems to be going smoothly with Hanna showing signs of grief and hugging the decoy for comfort. Wiegler orders the agent to break contact and abort but it’s too late as Hanna snaps the decoy’s neck then uses her body as a bullet shield to escape the interview room. Hanna evades her pursuers and escapes the base, only then finds out it is underground in the middle of the Moroccan desert.
Hanna walks through the desert until she meets a young English girl Sophie and her younger brother Miles who are travelling with their parents. Sophie talks a lot but listens very little. Their parents are middle-class hippy types Rachel (Olivia Williams) and Sebastian (Jason Flemyng) who patronisingly approve of her father’s confidence in allowing Hanna to travel alone. She reveals that her mother is dead and Rachel asks how she died. “Three bullets,” Hanna blankly replies.
Hanna is may be well educated in the facts about the world but she has no experience of how the things she heard about work or look or sound and as her shockingly plain talk a dinner revealed she has no experience of dealing with people. When she is shown her room at first she is fascinated by all the electrical appliances but it soon leads to a sensory overload and she suffers a panic attack.
Wiegler has ordered her agents concentrate on catching Heller. To go after Hanna she hires Isaacs (Tom Hollander), owner of the Safari transgender nightclub. We get the impression that Isaacs likes little girls in all the wrong ways. He is soon on the trail of Hanna with two skinhead henchman
This film is a really good spy thriller but it’s more than that. Hanna seems drawn to the English family perhaps because she had none of that life herself. Heller’s mission to kill Wiegler is all she has been prepared for and she has no idea who she is other than that. Young Saoirse Ronan is really great in the role of Hanna and I never knew Tom Hollander had that evil sleaziness in him to play the part of Isaacs. There is a fair bit of on-screen killing but not too much . But it is the implied killings that happen off-screen that are somewhat more disturbing.
- Rotten Tomatoes
- TV Tropes
- Review: Hanna (matthewalexandermultimedia.com)
- DVD: Hanna (12) (independent.co.uk)