Do you guys remember a young Natalie Portman as Mathilda with bangs (or fringe, as the Brits call it) in 90s grunge attire learning how to kill someone from a distance in Leon a.k.a. The Professional because her kid brother got murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? She was pretty badass in that movie, if you ask me.
Almost twenty years later and here comes another young female badass killing machine (Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl in Kickass already a given). Saoirse Ronan (Wikipedia says her name’s pronounced seer-shə) plays the title character, a young girl trained by her father, rogue CIA agent Erik Heller (Eric Bana), to kill one woman: Marissa Weigler, Heller’s former CIA handler.
There are hints of both Mathilda and Hit Girl in Hanna’s character and story. Hanna is indirectly motivated by revenge, the way Hit Girl was in Kickass. Both are acting on behalf of their fathers. WHY these men used these children for their own means when they were every bit as capable of doing the deed is beyond me, and is for another entry. The difference is that Moretz had a swagger to her when you saw her in action; Hanna was just cold and indifferent. The only time you ever saw any emotion in her eyes was the fear that flickered there when she felt that her newfound friends were in danger and that she had to protect them. Now this is what she had in common with Mathilda: a longing for human connection. Mathilda, orphaned and lonely, attaches herself to Leon, learns from him, and even declares herself in love with him. Hanna, on the other hand, being isolated from human contact aside from her father, finds herself simply enjoying the company of a family she meets on her way to carry out her mission. She gains a friend and learns to value it when she tries to protect the ones she’s come to care for.
Hanna is as cold as the environment she grew up in, but comes to know warmth in the people she meets. The transformation is expected, and Ronan’s beautiful stark blue eyes belied the emotion behind her stoic face. Bana played the supporting role of her father well enough to be recognized (even behind the bushy beard) but not to take away the spotlight from Ronan’s Hanna or Cate Blanchett’s Marissa Weigler, the father-daughter duo’s nemesis. Blanchett was a sight to behold as villain this time, but her role called for something not so unfamiliar. The cool calculating manner in which she tried to deal with the two is reminiscent of her Elizabeth days where she also played the role of a woman in authority. Still, it was nothing short of excellent.