Hanna (film)

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Hanna poster.jpg
Pre-release US poster
Directed by Joe Wright
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Seth Lochhead
Music by The Chemical Brothers
Cinematography Alwin H. Küchler
Edited by Paul Tothill
Holleran Company[1][2]
Studio Babelsberg
Distributed by Focus Features
Release dates
  • 7 April 2011 (2011-04-07) (Curaçao)
  • 8 April 2011 (2011-04-08) (United States)
  • 6 May 2011 (2011-05-06) (United Kingdom)
  • 26 May 2011 (2011-05-26) (Germany)
Running time
111 minutes[3]
Language English
Budget $30 million[5]
Box office $63.8 million[5]

Hanna is a 2011 action thriller film that contains prominent fairy tale elements, directed by Joe Wright. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the title character, a girl raised in the wilderness of northern Finland by her father, an ex-CIA operative (Eric Bana), who trains her as an assassin. Cate Blanchett is a senior CIA agent who tries to track down and eliminate the girl and her father. The soundtrack was written by The Chemical Brothers.

Hanna was released in North America in April 2011 and in Europe in May 2011. The film received a positive response from critics, with reviewers praising the performances of Ronan and Blanchett as well as the action sequences and themes. The film was a commercial success, earning $63.7 million at the international box-office, against its budget of $30 million.


Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan) is a 15-year-old girl[6][7][8] who lives with her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana) in rural northern Finland, near Kuusamo. The film opens with her hunting and killing a reindeer, first by shooting it with an arrow that just misses its heart, and then killing it with a handgun.

Since the age of two, Hanna has been trained by Erik, an ex-CIA operative from Germany, to be a skilled assassin. He teaches her hand-to-hand combat and drills her in target shooting. He left the agency, going incognito into the Arctic. Erik knows a secret that cannot become public, and is being sought by Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), a senior CIA officer, who wants to eliminate him. Erik has trained Hanna with the intent that she will kill Marissa. Hanna reads a bloodstained Grimms' Fairy Tales book frequently, has a great deal of encyclopedic knowledge, and is fluent in several languages. Due to her training away from civilization, she has never come into contact with modern technology or culture, and is unfamiliar with music or electricity. She has memorized a series of fake back-stories for herself to be used "when the time comes".

One night, Hanna tells Erik that she is "ready" to face their enemies. Erik digs up a radio beacon that will alert the outside world to their presence. Warning Hanna that if Marissa ever finds her, she "won't stop until you're dead. Or she is", he reluctantly allows Hanna the freedom to make her decision. After some consideration, Hanna flips the switch. Erik leaves, instructing her to meet him in Berlin. Hanna kills two of the special forces team when they enter the cabin and then waits for the rest, knowing that they will assume her father to have killed the pair before escaping.

Hanna is taken to an underground CIA complex. Marissa is suspicious of Hanna's request to talk to her, and sends in a body double (Michelle Dockery) instead. Hanna asks the body double where she met her father. The double, who is being fed answers through an earpiece by Marissa, answers the questions correctly, and Hanna starts to cry and crawls sobbing into the lap of the double, which makes the officials uneasy. They send soldiers and a doctor to her cell to sedate her. As they enter the cell, Hanna kills the double, and several others (stealing a handgun from one), breaks free through the ventilation system and escapes.

In a flashback, Marissa is seen firing at a car that is carrying Johanna Zadek, Hanna's mother; two-year-old Hanna; and Erik. The car crashes but the trio flee. Marissa follows, shooting Johanna as she lies on the ground. But Erik escapes with Hanna into the woods.

Hanna finds herself on the run in the Moroccan[6][9] desert, where she meets Sebastian (Jason Flemyng) and Rachel (Olivia Williams), a bohemian British couple on a camper-van holiday with their teenage daughter, Sophie (Jessica Barden), and their younger son, Miles (Aldo Maland). She sneaks into the family's camper-van and hitches a ferry ride to Spain with the goal of reaching Germany. The family is nice to her, and she and Sophie become friends, and spend some time together, even sharing a kiss.

Marissa hires Isaacs (Tom Hollander), a former agent, to capture Hanna. Hanna travels with the family as they drive north. Isaacs and two skinheads trail them and eventually corner Hanna and the family in France, but she manages to escape, killing one of the men. Marissa arrives and interrogates the British family, finding out that Hanna is heading to Berlin, her place of birth.

Arriving at the address her father had told her, Hanna meets with Knepfler (Martin Wuttke), an eccentric old magician and a friend of Erik's, who lives in a Grimms' Fairy Tales-themed house in an abandoned amusement park. It is Hanna's 16th birthday and Knepfler makes her breakfast. Hanna plans a rendezvous with her father. However, Marissa and Isaacs arrive. Hanna escapes, but not before she overhears comments that suggest Erik is not her biological father.

Later, Hanna meets her father at her German grandmother's apartment, whom Marissa had already shot in a previous scene. Hanna demands he tell her the truth, and he admits that he is not her biological father. Erik once recruited pregnant women into a program where their children's DNA was enhanced in order to create super-soldiers. The project was shut down, with almost all of its subjects eliminated.

Marissa and Isaacs arrive, intent on killing them; Erik acts as a distraction to allow Hanna to escape. Erik kills Isaacs in a brutal fight, but is shot by Marissa, who returns to the Grimm house. Hanna is there, having just discovered Knepfler dead. After a chase, Hanna and Marissa confront one another. Hanna pleads for the killing to end, saying she does not want to hurt anyone else. Marissa says she just wants to talk, but when Hanna starts walking away, she shoots her. Hanna responds by shooting her with an arrow she had pulled from Knepfler's body. Hanna falls to the ground, but gets up, regains her bearings and follows Marissa into a tunnel. She sees a deer, then spots Marissa fleeing up a water slide. The unarmed Hanna chases Marissa to the top of the slide's stairs, as Marissa shoots at her. Near the top, it becomes clear that Hanna's arrow did serious damage, and just as she is about to shoot Hanna, a disoriented Marissa falls and slides down the water flume, dropping her handgun. Hanna follows, picks up the dropped gun, and shoots her in the heart. This bookend scene mirrors the opening of the film in which Hanna hunts and kills the reindeer.

Main cast[edit]


The film's story and script were written by Seth Lochhead while a student at Vancouver Film School.[10] He wrote the original story and script on spec,[11] and finalized the script in 2006, with David Farr providing later changes.[12]

Danny Boyle and Alfonso Cuarón were previously attached to direct the film, before it was confirmed that Joe Wright would direct,[13] after Ronan prompted the producers to consider him.[14]


The film was co-produced by the US Holleran Company and German Studio Babelsberg, with financial support from various German film funds and the main distributor, Focus Features, which holds the copyright to the film.[1] Most of the filming was done at Studio Babelsberg in Berlin, but locations also included Lake Kitka in Kuusamo, Finland, several German locations (including Bad Tölz, the water bridge at Magdeburg, Köhlbrandbrücke and Reeperbahn in Hamburg, and various sites in Berlin, such as Kottbusser Tor, Görlitzer Bahnhof and Spreepark[15]), as well as Ouarzazate and Essaouira in Morocco.[16] Temperatures during the Finland shoot sometimes fell as low as −33 °C (−27 °F), but Ronan said "Finland did bring out the fairy tale aspects of the story. We were shooting on a frozen lake, surrounded by pine trees covered in snow".[16]

Themes and motifs[edit]

Reviewers remarked that the setting and style of Hanna significantly depart from a typical action movie.[17][18] According to the official website, the film has "elements of dark fairy tales" woven into an "adventure thriller".[12] Joe Wright, the director, has said that the movie's theme is a "fantasy" about "overcoming the dark side" during the "rites of passage" of adolescent maturation when a child transforms and "has to go into the world".[19] He said that he was influenced by personal exposure every day as he grew up to "violent, dark, cautionary fairy tales" that "prepare children for the future obstacles in the wider world", as well as his "deep love for the mystical qualities of David Lynch movies", by the patterns of narrative that he prefers because of his dyslexia, and by working as a child in his parents' puppetry company.[19]

In an interview with Film School Rejects, Wright acknowledged David Lynch as a major influence on Hanna[20] and also pointed to The Chemical Brothers' score: "You can expect an extraordinarily loud, thumping, deeply funky score that will not disappoint".[20] The music, including The Devil Is In The Beats[21][22] and The Devil Is In The Details,[23] underscores the movie's style,[19] recalling Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange[24] with musical motifs consistent with Wright's "fairy tale theme"[24] of childhood innocence confronting the modern "synthetic" world.[24] Several reviewers have commented that the movie has a hyper-stylized Kubrickian tone, reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange.[25][26] The "Kubrick-esque" style[27] includes Isaac's "gleeful sadism... at times darkly comedic,"[28] a whistling villain reminiscent of Alex DeLarge.[27] Joe Wright's "love of fairy tales and David Lynch movies"[19] was seen as blending A Clockwork Orange [28][29] and the work of the Brothers Grimm.[28][30]

Richard Roeper judged it to be a "surreal fairy tale" with "omnipresent symbolism".[31] Matt Goldberg said it was "an effective and surreal dark fairy tale"... ..."with a dreamlike sensibility... ...Everything in the picture is slightly askew and provides immediacy to Hanna’s offbeat coming-of-age tale... ...a film that refuses to exist solely in the realm of reality or fairy tale... ...'gritty' realism simply isn’t worthy of the story he’s trying to tell."[32] Fairy tale motifs are strewn through the film.[30][33][34] In the "tightly-edited patchwork of visual iconography, allusion and symbolism"[35] Wiegler is equated with the Big Bad Wolf[28][33][34] or the queen in Snow White.[36] "Classic fairy tale movie tropes abound;"[35] for example, the camera spins in obvious circles as Hanna makes her escape from the underground government facility early in the film, "just as the young heroine’s world is spinning out of control."[35] Peter Bradshaw found the fairy tale mythology "unsubtle".[37] Conversely, some reviewers did not comment on the fairy tale elements,[38][39][40][41] and others did so with expressive reservation.[36][42]

Kyle Munkittrick of Discover magazine notes that Hanna is a "transhumanist hero". Despite being genetically engineered to have "high intelligence, muscle mass, and no pity", she is still a good-natured person. He says Hanna, "symbolizes the contest between genetics and environment", or, "perhaps more familiarly, nature versus nurture".[43]


Hanna received mostly positive reviews; it holds a 72% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 203 reviews with the consensus stating "Fantastic acting and crisply choreographed action sequences propel this unique, cool take on the revenge thriller".[44] Justin Chang of Variety states that "Joe Wright's 'Hanna' is an exuberantly crafted chase thriller that pulses with energy from its adrenaline-pumping first minutes to its muted bang of a finish".[4] Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half stars out of four, commenting "Wright combines his two genres into a stylish exercise that perversely includes some sentiment and insight".[45]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, on the other hand, gave the film two stars out of five, stating "With its wicked-witch performance from Cate Blanchett, its derivative premise, its bland Europudding location work and some frankly outrageous boredom, this will test everyone's patience."[46] Kenneth Turan, of the Los Angeles Times, states that the film "starts off like a house afire but soon burns itself out". He states that even though the film is "[b]lessed with considerable virtues, including a clever concept, crackling filmmaking and a charismatic star, it ultimately squanders all of them, undone by an unfortunate lack of subtlety and restraint".[47]

According to Hollywood Reporter, Hanna came in second place at the U.S. box office in its first weekend behind Hop.[48] When the film closed on 7 July 2011, it had grossed $40,259,119 in the domestic box office, with a worldwide total of $63,782,078; based on a $30 million budget, the film is considered a financial success.[5]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress Saoirse Ronan Nominated [49]


Main article: Hanna (soundtrack)

The soundtrack album features a score composed by the British big beat duo, The Chemical Brothers.


  1. ^ a b c d e BFI: Hanna Linked 25 March 2014
  2. ^ IMDb: Hanna - Company Credits Linked 25 March 2014
  3. ^ "Hanna (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Chang, Justin (30 March 2011). "Hanna". Variety. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Hanna at Box Office Mojo
  6. ^ a b Nick Goundry (12 May 2011). "Joe Wright puts locations first filming Hanna in Germany, Finland and Morocco". The Location Guide. 
  7. ^ Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub (6 April 2011). "Saoirse Ronan Video Interview HANNA". 
  8. ^ "First Look: Saoirse Ronan in Joe Wright’s Hanna". /Film. 
  9. ^ Hanna screenplay, page 33, scene 81 Re-linked 25 March 2014
  10. ^ The Vancouver Sun, 7 April 2011: Vancouver Film School helped Seth Lochhead realize his ambition for big thriller Hanna Re-linked 25 March 2014
  11. ^ Vancouver Film School, 27 August 2007, Seth Lochhead blog: The Year of Living Famously Re-linked 25 March 2014
  12. ^ a b Foucus Features: Hanna Re-linked 25 March 2014
  13. ^ Weinberg, Scott (17 November 2009). "Joe Wright to Tackle Action With 'Hanna'". blog.moviefone.com. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  14. ^ Pilkington, Mark (6 April 2011). "Cineplex Movie Blog – Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana talk Hanna". cineplex.com. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Joe Wright Interview - Hanna and Anna Karenina". about.com. 8 April 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Raup, Jordan (15 February 2011). "New Images & First Clip From Joe Wright's 'Hanna'". The Film Stage. Retrieved 26 March 2011. 
  17. ^ Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg, Jeff Cannata. The Totally Rad Show (10 April 2011) Video on YouTube
  18. ^ Christy Lemire (AP critic and host of Ebert Presents at the Movies), Matt Atchity (editor-in-chief of Rottentomatoes.com) and Ben Mankiewicz (host of Turner Classic Movies) on TYT Network (7 April 2011) Video on YouTube
  19. ^ a b c d John Hiscock The Telegraph (22 Apr 2011)
  20. ^ a b Giroux, Joe (12 October 2010). "New York Comic Con: Joe Wright on His Action Fairy Tale 'Hanna'". Film School Rejects. 
  21. ^ CHARTattack Robot Song Of The Day. The Chemical Brothers' "The Devil Is In The Beats" (22 March 2011) [1]
  22. ^ Hanna Soundtrack-Chemical Brothers-The Devil Is In The Beats on YouTube
  23. ^ Hanna Soundtrack-Chemical Brothers-The Devil Is In The Details on YouTube
  24. ^ a b c John Jurgensen. In 'Hanna', The Chemical Brothers Get a Piece of the Action. Wall Street Journal blog. [2]
  25. ^ Edward Douglas. Hanna movie review. ComingSoon.com
  26. ^ Montag's Movie Reviews
  27. ^ a b Movie Review: 'Hanna' (14 April 2011)
  28. ^ a b c d James Berardinelli. Reelviews. (April5, 2011)
  29. ^ jay g. Rotten Tomatoes. (6 April 2011 09:12 AM) [3]/
  30. ^ a b Roger Ebert. Hanna. Sun Times (6 April 2011)
  31. ^ Richard Roeper Reelz Channel on YouTube
  32. ^ Matt Goldberg. HANNA Review. collider.com (April 8th, 2011 at 8:47 am)
  33. ^ a b Todd McCarthy. Hanna: Movie Review March 30, 2011
  34. ^ a b James Mottram. Meet the new Hit Girl on the block. totalfilm.com
  35. ^ a b c Kofi Outlaw. Hanna review. Screenrant.(Apr 8, 2011)
  36. ^ a b Manohla Dargis (7 April 2011). "Daddy's Lethal Girl Ventures Into the Big, Bad World". New York Times. 
  37. ^ Peter Bradshaw. Hanna – review. Guardian. (Thursday 5 May 2011)
  38. ^ Turan, Kenneth (8 April 2011). "Movie review: 'Hanna'". Los Angeles Times. 
  39. ^ Time Out
  40. ^ Mick LaSalle. 'Hanna' review: Bogus premise, but Ronan great. SF Chronicle (8 April 2011) [4]
  41. ^ "SFF 2011 - HANNA review". Twitchfilm.com. 12 June 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  42. ^ Sukhdev Sandhu (5 May 2011). "Hanna, review". UK: The Telegraph. 
  43. ^ Munkittrick, Kyle. "Hanna: A Transhuman Tragedy of Nature vs Nurture". Discover Magazine: Science not Fiction. Kalmbach Publishing Co. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  44. ^ "Hanna (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 June 2011. 
  45. ^ Ebert, Roger (7 April 2011). "Hanna". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 8 April 2011. 
  46. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (5 May 2011). "Hanna". The Guardian (London). 
  47. ^ Turan, Kenneth (8 April 2011). "Movie review: 'Hanna' A clever concept and gifted cast, led by Saoirse Ronan, can't offset a lack of subtlety and restraint". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  48. ^ Kilday, Gregg (11 April 2011). "'Hanna' Edges Out 'Arthur' for No. 2 Box Office Spot". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  49. ^ "33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 

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