Movie Title: Hanna
Director: Joe Wright
Release Date: April 8th, 2011
Date Seen: August 9th, 2012
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
A movie about a girl on a mission – we do not know exactly what the mission is, or why, but we don’t really care. The movie really is a great showcase of Saoirse Ronan, playing the title role. I have loved her in everything I’ve seen her in (The Lovely Bones, this, and The Way Back), and this was great. She is great at showing deep emotion like in The Lovely Bones and The Way Back or she does amazingly well in this movie as the “I can never tell what you are thinking or feeling” type character (which is what is supposed to happen). She was great. Cate Blanchett is also great, but that’s hardly a surprise. The story is good, although it does leave some questions unanswered. But the end is well done, and satisfying – so you’re ok with the unanswered questions.
There is a decent amount of action – but really mostly it’s all about the chase. It’s a cat and mouse type game. Hanna is nearly always one step ahead. It’s a good ride. Go watch it. I recommend it.
Part 2 – In-depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
The movie begins with Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) moving quietly through the forest – and hunting an elk. She shoots it with an arrow but barely misses his heart, so he runs off, to die slowly. Hanna catches up with him and shoots him to put him out of her misery. She then begins to gut the animal. As she is gutting him, her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana), appears behind her saying “you’re dead. I just killed you.” They fight – as it is a training opportunity for Hanna. She is bested and he leaves her telling her to “drag it back yourself.” Back at their cabin, a typical wilderness hunter cabin, they talk. They go through what seems like a daily/nightly ritual of him testing her – making her say the same thing back to him in various languages (German, Italian, Spanish), etc. He then asks her about the elk, she says she got about 120 lbs of meat and some scraps – so the elk probably weighed about 200 lbs in total. He says that means she must be getting a lot stronger to carry it back alone. That night they read together by the fire. But not your typical father daughter reading, he’s reading her an encyclopedia. She asks about “what music feels like” – and he simply reads her the definition of music. She says she wants to experience music for herself and that “She’s ready.” Up in her loft bed, while her dad cleans up, she pulls out a hidden book she has – it is of Grimm fairytales. On one page, she has a hidden picture of a woman who must be her mother.
The next day we see the intense training she goes through every day. Gun training, running, fighting, as well as mental exercises – where she “lives”, who her “best friends are”, what she “likes to do”, etc. Even at night she almost gets jumped by her dad – but she is ready and wakes up and stops him. She wins and says “see, I told you, I’m ready.” She goes back to bed and we see her dad count out some steps outside the cabin and start to dig something up. The next day, Hanna is playing with some wolf cubs when a huge plane flies overhead, she screams and runs to her dad saying “did you see it? Isn’t it beautiful?” and she notices him staring at a box with an antenna and a light. She asks what it is and he tells her that it will tell “Marissa Wiegler” where they are – if Hanna thinks she is ready, she can just flip the switch, but there is no going back – Marissa won’t stop until Hanna is dead (or Marissa is dead).
Hanna thinks about it for a while – we see Hanna and Erik exploring the forest, reading the encyclopedia. The next morning Erik is about ready to go hunt – he asks Hanna to join him, but she says he’ll stay. He seems to know that Hanna is going to flip the switch. She does, saying “Marissa Wiegler – come and find me.” Erik comes home and sees the switch on, but doesn’t really say anything to acknowledge it – but you can tell he’s a little bit upset. It seems that she might have been ready to go – but he wasn’t ready for her to go.
We see Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) getting up out of bed, and getting ready for work at the CIA. At work, she is told that they picked up an unidentified signal, that they believe belongs to Erik Heller and Marissa used to be his handler. She says yeah, she remembers him. She walks off and it’s clear that Erik Heller is a bigger deal to her than she let on. She keeps thinking “why now, Erik?” We see scenes of Hanna cutting her Dad’s hair, him shaving, changing clothes, as Marissa discusses the details of Erik. He used to be an operative that had some deep European operations and then went off the grid. He started working with a German woman, Johanna Zadek. They ask why this woman – but she says “oh it’s not in the file, let’s keep on task.” We see the picture of her, and it is the same woman that Hanna had pictures of. The CIA doesn’t want to go look for him since it’s been such a long time; they figure just let Interpol handle it. Marissa says they don’t want Erik getting into the “wrong hands”, since he knows a lot of important information. They decide since it is only one man – they’ll do a one day operation to go get him, but that’s it.
At the cabin, Hanna and Erik go over everything one more time – a series of cryptic words that must mean something to them, and then ending with “the address where they will meet.” Erik leaves, in a suit, dressed all nights, leaving Hanna to prepare in the cabin. She does some pushups for a while – and then a helicopter slowly moves in on the cabin. A large team surrounds the cabin. Two men go inside – and the others then lose contact with them. All the men swarm the cabin, and find the two men dead on the floor. They look around – and find Hanna sitting watching them. They call Wiegler and tell her that they think Erik got away in the snowstorm and confusion – and Marissa cuts them off just telling them to find him – then the men yell that “and there was a kid…” Marissa calmly asks “a kid? And where is she now?”
We cut to Hanna, in an orange jumpsuit, lying on a table/bed thing in a rounded cell. A doctor comes in and sits in front of her. He is creepy looking, but not like old creepy, just disturbing creepy. He asks her about how long she has been in the forest. She simply says that her “father told her to get the upper hand.” He asks about what else her father told her. She starts looking around, rather than answering, and notices there are cameras at EVERY angle in the room. She asks if they are cameras and he says “yes they are taking our picture right now” and we flash to two men watching her, wherever she is, and then Weigler watching from a computer in Virginia. Hanna rattles off some history of the camera and the doctor asks her ‘What do you like? I can get you anything you like, music, magazines?’ and Hanna says “I want to talk to Marissa Wiegler.” Wiegler tells the two men watching her that “she’ll be there tonight” and the men say that they can handle it – but Wiegler insists she is coming.
We see a lab, and two men testing Hanna’s hair and blood. Neither can believe what they are seeing on the monitor – so they think the sample must be contaminated so they start to run it again. Back in the cell, Hanna is sitting on the table and a woman who looks like Marissa walks in. She sits next to Hanna and says “My name is Marissa Wiegler; you wanted to speak with me?” Hanna looks at her, and then at the guard. The woman tells the guard to wait outside. Hanna asks the woman where she is. The woman says “in a safe place, sweetie”. Hanna asks “where did you meet my father?” The real Wiegler is in another room feeding her the answers. She says the father’s name is Erik – and she met him by a news Kiosk in some German town. The real Wiegler pronounces it perfectly – the fake one, does not. But it appears Hanna believes her and she starts crying. Fake Wiegler asks about the father, saying that they’re all worried about him, and does she know where Erik is? Hanna starts really crying and the agent keeps comforting her – then Hanna sits on her lap and wraps her arms around her, crying harder. The two men tell the agent to keep her distance – but kind of hard with a crying girl wrapped around you. They start to send in men to knock her out – and as soon as the door starts to open, Hanna pulls the woman’s head back, who has a “wtf?” look on her face, and then snaps her neck. She takes out the guards really quick and takes one of their guns and shoots the remaining guards. She also takes a moment to shoot out all the cameras – Wiegler watching on the monitor is in shock that the girl is doing this. The men hit a panic button as Hanna starts to try to get away. There are some cool strobe light escaping scenes, with Hanna disappearing on and off with the light. It’s pretty cool. And trippy. At one point she gets into some vents – and into the medical lab. She steals her files and freaks out the two nerds, and then gets away again by running out and going into the vents one last time. She ends up climbing almost straight up a ventilation shaft, and drops the gun, but is so close to the top she just keeps going. She opens the shaft and finds herself in the middle of a desert. Obviously an environment extremely different than the one she is used to. She sees some jeeps coming to set up a perimeter and manages to grab ahold of the bottom of one of them. She rides until she can’t hold on any longer and lets go. She starts wandering the desert and somehow manages to pick some random direction to walk.
Wiegler is now seen back at home – pulling a file out of a hidden safe. She also pulls out some money, passports, etc. She is now seen in the kitchen burning the file. There is a flashback to Erik, Johanna, and baby Hanna driving in a car. Johanna seems happy but Erik stills seems concerned. Good thing too, because we see Wiegler hiding behind a sign post. She jumps out and shoots at the car. It crashes and by the time she has run over to it, they are all gone. She sees Johanna running into the forest, and chases her down and shoots her – but not before she says “she will never be yours.” And we see Erik running off with baby Hanna. Next Wiegler is on a plane, and is telling people to focus on Erik more than Hanna – because he is a threat to national security. We see Erik reaching some water, taking off his clothes, packing them, and start swimming.
While walking, Hanna stumbles across a young teenage girl and her brother. It’s clear that Hanna doesn’t have many social skills – because to introduce herself, she lists off the EXACT thing her and her dad rehearsed. The girl leaves, offering Hanna a ride, but Hanna says she prefers to walk. Now we stumble upon Hanna witnessing some women singing and washing items in a creek. Still unsure where they are but it looks like a desert oasis now, and the language sounds Arabic or something similar. Hanna takes some clothes off a rock and next we see her finally find a town. She wanders around, and next we see her sitting in an office – with a man asking her where her family is. She asks him if he’s Arab and he says “I am Moroccan.” So we are in Morocco. She lists off some facts about it – and then, in Arabic, says, “I like Arabic.” The man is just astonished. Eventually she asks for help – she needs a room for the night but has no money. He takes her to a room and turns on the light. She is astonished by the electricity – turning the light on and off – and asking if every room has one of these things. He realizes that she has had a very sheltered life and so he starts showing her the other things in the room – such as the electric kettle, for the English who like to make their own tea – and the TV. He has to hit it a few times but it comes on a show with some music. She is astonished. The man starts to walk away and turns around asking her, “where did you come from” and she simply says “The forest”. The electric kettle then starts to go off, and she touches it and burns her finger. Then she just starts to go into shock at all the technology in the room and ends up freaking out and running out – and meets the two kids from earlier again, Sophie and Miles.
Now we see Wiegler having in arrived in Germany. She goes into a strange weird looking club and meets up with someone who appears to be an old friend, Isaacs (Tom Hollander). She says she needs him – she needs his talents – to do things that the agency won’t let her do. She gives Isaacs a packet of money and he asks if he wants her to kill the girl. She gets up, kisses him on the cheek, says “just find her” and walks away. He calls out “Marissa – did she turn out as you had hoped?” and she smiles and says “better.” And leaves.
Hanna is at dinner with Sophie and Miles and her parents, Rachel (Olivia Williams) and Sebastian (Jason Flemyng). Sophie keeps going on and on about money things, plastic surgery, blah blah blah, and Hanna gets interested in the mother – who doesn’t wear makeup, very intelligent, etc. She focuses on everything she says. Sebastian wants to know about Hanna – such as her parents. She says “my mother is dead.” They apologize and says “that’s ok, it happened a long time ago.” Rachel asks, all kindly – what did your mother die of and Hanna says straight up – “three bullets.”
Hanna sleeps in a corner of her room, and looks at her medical charts that say she is “abnormal”. We see the family leave the next day and head to the ferry across to Spain. Back at the hotel, Isaacs and a helper guy have arrived and are beating up the hotel owner for information on Hanna. He doesn’t give up much information. Isaacs says that he is her uncle and is very worried about her, but the hotel owner says he doesn’t know anything. The helper guy has now found a video of Hanna, jumping onto the roof and hiding under luggage of the English family’s van. They kill the hotel owner and go off to the ferry – and arrive just in time to see it has left a few minutes ago. Hanna is still hiding out with the luggage on the car.
A man, apparently another helper of Isaacs – sees the van arrive in Spain and starts to follow it. From inside the luggage, Hanna is watching the family have fun, singing along to songs, tickle each other, etc. The little brother notices that she is in there but puts his finger to his lips indicating that he is going to keep her secret.
Erik finally finishes his swim – he gets out of the water, goes under some barbed wire, and two police officers walk up. The next time we see this scene, we see the two police officers bodies being pulled out of the ocean. One CIA guy, Lewis (John Macmillan) tells Wiegler that there’s no way they can keep this quiet now – Interpol will have to get involved. Wiegler says that they have to regain control of the situation – and need to get Erik. We now flash to Erik in a hotel room, looking at a post card that says “the witch is dead”. So this means that Hanna thinks that she did in fact kill Wiegler.
Hanna is back in the van, and starts to get out of where she is hiding. The little boy sees her get out, and she looks for a way to get out of the van. He points her to the back. She runs out, and runs through the campground they are staying at. The bad guy sees her and calls Isaacs. Hanna stops at a pool and who is there – but Sophie. Sophie tells her that she can’t believe Hanna was in the car the whole time. She agrees to keep sneaking Hanna in there on one condition – she goes with her to hang out with some hot Spanish boys that night. Hanna agrees, and Sophie gives her some clothes to wear and puts some make up on her. They go off with the boys to a bonfire, with music, people singing, etc. Hanna is entranced, by the dancing, the singing, the music, etc. She can’t take her eyes off it. At the end of the night, Sophie is off with her boy and Hanna is left sitting awkwardly next to hers. He scoots in closer – they awkwardly avoid each other’s gaze – and eventually she asks “are we going to kiss now?” and he says “would you like to?” and she answers with facts about kissing – which doesn’t seem to deter him. He gets close to her face and she goes nuts and slams him to the ground. Sophie runs up saying “Hanna!” Hanna asks if he should let her go and Sophie says “AS OPPOSED TO WHAT?!?!” She tells the boy that she is going to now, and that it was nice. Back at the campground, Isaacs and his men have arrived. They look in the tent and shine a light in there. Only Miles is in there. He kind of wakes up, but Isaacs just says “I am the sandman. Go to sleep.” And walks off – and right then is when Sophie and Hanna get back to the campgrounds.
We now see Wiegler in Johanna’s old place going through tapes and looking at pictures. In walks a woman – Johanna’s mother. Wiegler wants to know where Erik is. The woman says “he said you were dead… he sent word.” Wiegler asks about Hanna. The woman asks Wiegler if she ever had kids of her own…. If not, then there’s no way Wiegler can ever understand what it’s like to lose a daughter, or to know what all happened, and spend every day waiting. As she says all this, Wiegler is pulling out a gun and putting a silencer on it. The woman gets up and puts her hand on her daughter’s picture. She asks Wiegler if she’s seen Hanna and what she looks like. We hear a silent shot, and the woman falls. Wiegler says “like her mother.” And walks off.
Back at the campground, Sophie and Hanna are having talks – Sophie says that they are friends and wants to know more about Hanna. Hanna says she can’t tell her everything, because there are men that want to harm her. So Hanna won’t tell Sophie, for her safety. Sophie says she isn’t sure if they can still be friends – because she doesn’t really know who Hanna is…. Hanna answers “neither do I.” She does tell Sophie that she is going to go to Berlin and meet her father at the Grimm house. Sophie gives her a friendship bracelet to remember her by, and Hanna gives her a kiss to say thanks.
The next morning, Sophie gets up and is looking for Hanna – her parents ask “who?” and she says “the girl we had dinner with in Morocco! She’s here, and we’re giving her a ride to ____(somewhere I didn’t catch).” Sebastian says it’s just strange, she’s like an orphan… and about that time, Hanna comes running up, plops a dead medium-sized, skinned animal on the table, and says “I found breakfast!!!” She is helping out in the only way she knows how. The van leaves the campground, with Hanna, and Isaacs and his men hop in their car and start to follow.
We see Erik arriving at a bus station in Berlin (?) He walks through it calmly – and we (the audience) see men with transmitters in their ears watching him. Some start to follow him. Erik notices that he is being followed and looks more and more worried. He goes down into the subway and one man is definitely following him. Others have come down from other entrances and Erik is clearly surrounded. He starts to fight them. Basically it’s a scene of hot men in suits fighting each other. I approve. Erik whips knifes out of random places and ends up killing or knocking out all the men. He hears on the radio “Do you confirm? Bring her to Wiegler!” Erik grabs the radio and says “is that what she said?!” and the person on the radio says “Yes, confirmed with her two minutes ago.” Erik cusses, and walks off – now knowing that Wiegler is in fact not dead.
Now we see Hanna riding in the front seat with Rachel driving. Hanna is having a nice time looking out the window, talking with Rachel, and then she notices the car following them. Rachel asks if everything is alright, and Hanna says “I think so.” Flash back to Wiegler, brushing her teeth to death – and I mean to freaking death – her gums are bleeding. Then her phone rings – it’s Erik. She texts Lewis real quick and tells him to “get tech.” He comes in, and says they’re on their way. She tries to keep Erik on the line, asking him things about Hanna, or why now. There is a knock at the door, Lewis goes to answer it, and gets shot in the head. It’s Erik. Wiegler manages to get a gun and shoots wildly at the door. Erik shoots back. As he tries to kick the door down, she sits there, and has to tell herself, “move! Come on, move!” And as Erik finally gets in, he sees that she has escaped through a window.
In the van, the car is still following them and Hanna is concerned. Everyone is sleeping, and Rachel is trying to navigate but tells Hanna she thinks they’re lost. She has to pull over because she can’t see the map. The car pulls up behind them as well. Sophie wakes up, asking if they’re stopped because she has to pee. Rachel tells her, not right now, in a minute. Hanna also tells her not to do anything. She thanks Sophie for being her friend and makes her promise not to follow her. She then bursts out the back of the van, and the men jump out to follow her. Rachel is clearly concerned for Hanna and yells after her. One of the men goes into the van and threatens them with a gun telling them to keep quiet. They all case Hanna and get her cornered a few times but she always manages to get away. Isaacs is the best at locating her, because he always keeps cool – and seems to be a lot smarter than his helper guys. She manages to take the men down – and Sophie appears – witnessing Hanna kill one of the men, and wound the other. She runs off terrified. Hanna ends up at a river or something, but Isaacs, in his beautiful yellow tracksuit, doesn’t catch her in time and she jumps in. Isaacs and his helper now have the family all separated into different storage containers. Wiegler is there as well. She is talking to all of them – and she is unnaturally good at getting the information they all have. Even out of Miles. She tells Rachel that here’s a picture of Hanna’s mother – she was shot and killed on a camping trip 15 years ago by Hanna’s father, Erik. Oh that lying biznitch. Sophie refuses to tell Wiegler anything denying she knows the Spanish boys who saw Hanna and her, etc. We see Wiegler entice Miles to talk to her with something in an envelope. It’s the pictures that Miles took on his camera of the family, some with Hanna. Wiegler tells Miles that Hanna is in trouble and she just wants to protect her. Miles says ok, and tells her that she knows she is going to Berlin – to the Grimm house – to meet her dad.
Hanna is now seen on a barge she must have swum to. She arrives in Berlin and manages to make her way to the Grimm house. It appears to be like a part kind of thing. There’s weird stuff on the lawn, and the house looks like a fairytale house. She knocks on the door and a man answers it – he seems to be kind of crazy, and lives at this house. He knows who she is though. The house on the inside has two parts – the crazy fairytale like part, with mushrooms “growing” down from the ceiling – and then the back part, where the man appears to live. He gives her a letter from her dad that has an address, says “be there Tuesday” and is signed with his name. The man takes her back and gets some eggs to make some waffles – she just asks for an egg and eats it raw. He then suddenly remembers a “present” – it’s a new passport and some papers. The man entertains her, and tells her that she looks like her father – and Hanna asks about her mother. He says that she used to sing and it was wonderful. He starts playing some music, and it is “In the Hall of the MountainKing” by Edvard Grieg. You know it, trust me, go look it up if you don’t know it off the top of your head, but you WILL recognize it. He starts dancing around tells Hanna that he’ll teach her how to dance. Outside, we see Wiegler and Isaacs and his men arrive. He tells Hanna to go hide upstairs. They come in and immediately hit the guy and Wiegler asks where Erik is. Wiegler looks around the house. We see Hanna hiding under the bed – and she overhears a disturbing conversation. Isaacs comes up and tells Wiegler that the man doesn’t know much – but he thinks that Erik is Hanna’s father – ha! They all think that he is her father! Hanna is shocked. At that time Wieglers phone rings and she is getting yelled at by her CIA boss, for what happened at the hotel where Lewis was killed. As she talks, Wiegler looks under the bed – Hanna isn’t there. She has pulled herself deep up into the mattress of the bed. As Wiegler goes back downstairs, Hanna leaves out a window.
Hanna goes to an internet café, and after struggling a bit with the computer starts looking up “DNA interference” to figure out what has been done to her. She also searches Erik’s name – and finds that he is the main suspect in Johanna’s murder. She finds the address of Johanna’s mother and she goes to check it out. Back at the Grimm house, we see Erik sneaking up on it, and he sees Isaacs and his men there. He over hears them saying “So, off to grandmothers house we go”. So this looks like where all the final drama is going to take place.
At the grandma’s house, Hanna sees blood on the floor and breaks in anyway. She sees the picture shot with blood all over it – and she continues to look around. Erik appears behind her and tells her to sit down. She refuses and just screams to know if he is really her father. He keeps telling her “of course I am, I raised you… I raised you like my own flesh and blood.” She says “but I’m not…. Where was I born?” He tells her that she was born in a research facility, where they messed with her embryo that made her feel less fear, pity, etc. make her stronger, and the perfect soldier. Erik says that he recruited Johanna at an abortion clinic… as well as 20 other women. So there were other children. He says that when Hanna was about 2, Wiegler closed the whole program down. He says that “I love you Hanna, don’t you know that?” She says he loves her just as a medical experiment and he says “no, because you are my child.” She starts to run off all pissed and ends up fighting with her father. She leaves the apartment, and he tells her that he tried to prepare her for what her life would be and she says “you didn’t prepare me for this.” At that second, Isaacs and Wiegler pull up. He tells Hanna to run and he goes straight at them. Isaacs and his men chase Erik – thus distracting them from Hanna. They end up crashing their car and so one of the men runs after him on foot. Erik easily takes that guy out after a brief fight. Isaacs appears behind him, now in a gorgeous blue track suit, and Erik also takes him out. Wiegler shows up behind him and simply points her gun at him. She says “why now, Erik?” and she says “kids grow up.” We see Hanna still running – and then a gunshot rings out. She knows that he must have been shot. Hanna runs back to the Grimm house and goes in – only to find the man strung up and hung, upside down, just like the mushrooms. He has a number of arrows in him, like they just used him for target practice. As she looks at him, she suddenly stands up because she heard something outside. She goes to the window, pulls back the shade – and Wiegler is right there looking in. Hanna runs back to the body and starts to pull an arrow out as Wiegler yells for “Hanna!”
Wiegler goes into the house, runs up the stairs looking for her, but Hanna runs out as Wiegler does this. Hanna runs across the crazy grounds, all while carrying the bloody arrow. Wiegler chases her, while carrying her gun. Her face is confusing – it’s not the determined, bitch face she’s had the whole time, but now appears to show some fear. Hanna is running along some roller coaster tracks, a part of which goes across a river and then goes into a weird tunnel shaped like a wolf’s mouth. As she is halfway across the pond, Wiegler starts walking out with her gun pointed at Hanna. She lowers it saying “don’t worry, I just want to talk.” Hanna tells her not to come closer because she “doesn’t want to hurt anyone anymore.” She asks Wiegler to just let her go, and turns to walk away. Wiegler says “Hanna, don’t walk away from me young lady!” and she turns, having made a slingshot type pull for the arrow, and lets it go, right as Wiegler shots Hanna in the side. Hanna gets up and walks down the tracks into the tunnel. There, she sees a young deer. She keeps walking and finds a thing that goes to the inner workings of the roller coaster – Wiegler is trying to escape up this way. She keeps shooting at Hanna but missing. She is clearly wounded badly. She gets to the top of the thing she was climbing, which appears to be a hump where a roller coaster would come up then go down quickly. She looks at Hanna, is about to shoot her, and then slips and falls down. She isn’t moving. Hanna walks down the ramp, looks at Wiegler lying there, and says, “I just missed your heart.” And shoots her in the head. Just like the deer/elk thing at the beginning of the movie.
I really enjoyed this movie. There were questions left unanswered that I really wished would have been answered, rather than hinted at (such as what happened to Sophie and her family, what happened to the other mothers? Why was the program cancelled in the first place?) – But I still enjoyed the movie. It was a nice thrilling ride that kept me interested. The acting was great, especially by Saoirse Ronan who always does a great job. Watch it when you’re in the mood for an unusual thriller.