Opening in a cold, baron, isolated and white Finland setting, the viewer is already prepared for the hunter vs. the hunted type story line. In contradiction to Wrightâï¿½ï¿½s previously directed films (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) there is less prestige and stylistic quality to Hanna; however, it is a very raw with quick, yet never rushed action cuts, backed up with skilled tracking shots.
Hanna is not your typical spy movie, where the spy is betrayed and then seeks only revenge. It is a coming of age film with intricate character development and the feel of raw escapism. Having spent her entire life in a desolate Finland surrounding with her ex-CIA father, Hanna has reached a point in her teenage years where she has tired of her fathers repetitive stories, out of date encyclopedias, and need only for survival. Her father places her own destiny in her hands, a simple switch, which will alert the antagonist of the story of Hannaâï¿½ï¿½s location. Hanna feels as prepared as she will ever be for the real world with music, laughter, and real life Grimm novels.
Like an abrupt turning point in adolescence, the switch is activated, and the pace of the film immediately picks up. High contrast shots, choppy editing, and the occasional hand held camera puts the viewer in the perspective of Hanna, trusting no one and gaining control. Placed in a holding cell in government confines, Hanna is viewed as a time bomb, holding valuable information, which could detonate at any time and destroy the foundation of humanity. The antagonist is very much like the wicked witch of fairy tales, soulless and intelligent, her main goal is to erase Hanna from the existence of mankind. We are unclear of Hannaâï¿½ï¿½s potency.
Her quest for survival and justice begins when she overtakes the guards and escapes from a highly secure military compound. Alone is the desert with nothing but the bright orange jumpsuit, Hanna comes in contact with her first teenager. Intrigued immediately with their normality, this American family on vacation becomes the primary transport of Hanna, often times unknowingly.
Knowing the danger she is in, Hannaâï¿½ï¿½s goal is to meet her father at a certain location in hopes to begin a normal life. As the plot unfolds there are many open-ended conflicts and uncertainty. It is almost as if this fast paced film is going nowhere. Through flashbacks and present day interaction, it is apparent that Hannaâï¿½ï¿½s father knows something detrimental to her well being, and also had some sort of relation with Melissa, the antagonist. This open-ended ness becomes frustrating, never having a concrete conclusion, and leavening it up to the viewer to decide the fates of certain characters. The films fleeting resolutions really took away from the beautiful plot in which it had potential to be.
Wrightâï¿½ï¿½s beautiful camera angles, use of color and contrast, and unique real time editing left this film feeling like a piece of art stuck between Hollywood and surrealism. Had it been a little more resolute and definitive, it would been a phenomenal film, however; I walked away feeling entertained, yet slightly cheated, similar to waking up after a long night at the bar complete with fist fights, enlightening conversation, and an intense game of pool, and having no recollection of the night passed.