Movie Review: HANNA

The new movie, HANNA, has been getting mostly good reviews, but I can't recommend it.

The movie is a stylish thriller about a young girl raised by her ex-CIA father to become a skilled assassin. (Other films like THE FEMME NIKITA have done much better with this theme.)

I liked the fine acting and the slick cinematography of HANNA, but the cliched script doesn't make much sense. And all the creatively shot action doesn't take us anywhere worth going.
The film is lucky to have the talented sixteen year old Saoirse (Seer-sha) Ronan as Hanna, who was raised in isolation near the Arctic by her father. He also gave her enough martial arts training to be able   to destroy almost anyone who attacks her.
Hanna has also had some genetic engineering done on her before she was born. And that has given her fighting skills a very sharp edge  Her father's goal is to improve her techniques to the point where she's able to kill his nemesis, Cate Blanchett as Melissa, a CIA leader who was for Hanna's genetic engineering in the first place.

As a 16 year old who's never seen civilization except in a single encyclopedia and a book of fairly tales by the Brothers Grimm, Hanna wants to see the world and that means pushing the button that will reveal their location to the infamous Melissa. (Wouldn't it be better to hunt Melissa down before she's aware that Hanna even exists?)

Once the button is pushed, Hanna is captured immediately, and her captors prove to be no match for her fighting powers. Hanna kills a red headed woman she believes is Melissa, so she thinks her mission is over. But the real story is just getting started.

HANNA held me in its grip for about 40 minutes. After that I began to realize that director Joe Wright who did ATONEMENT, PRIDE & PREJDICE and THE SOLOIST, was more interested in showing off than IN telling a human story.

I wish he had focused more on this wild child's struggles to understand the strange new outside world she's experiencing for the first time. But instead, it seems to me he's trying to make a thriller that's also an art film, something like what Orson Wells did in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI many years ago.

Parts of HANNA are fun to watch, but there's nothing of substance here. It's little more than an extended chase scene, a stylish over-the-top thriller that runs itself into a dead end.