Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Hanna" is a stimulating thriller with a tailor-made cast...and killer music: A-

Okay Joe Wright, you've got my attention.

If his affinity for laced-up romances such as "Atonement" hasn't satisfied you, then his eye for sophisticated ass-kicking action in "Hanna" certainly will. With beautiful yet haunting backdrops of snowy training grounds, rocky deserts, and amusement park playlands, Joe Wright creates for a us an intense movie that demands your full attention.

Hanna (Saorise Ronan) has been trained to adapt and survive. In the absence of modern comforts such as electricity, Hanna has been cut off from society and raised by her father, Erik Heller(Eric Bana) in the forests of Finland. When she proclaims herself ready, Hanna's mission is to eliminate CIA official Marissa Viegler (Cate Blanchett). In a flashback, we learn that Marissa made an attempt to murder the Heller family. While she succeeded in killing Hanna's mother, Erik and baby Hanna managed to escape into the wilderness.

In a cooperative effort, Erik and Hanna create a plan to take out Marissa. While Erik heads to Germany, Hanna allows herself to be collected by the CIA. One thing is for sure: nobody knows how completely f***ed they are. Hanna proves to be a force to be reckoned with. After Hanna escapes the underground facility where she is held captive, the chase is on.

Along the way, Hanna hitches a ride with a family on vacation in Morocco. In this portion of the movie, Hanna's true lack of social awareness comes into the story. (A particularly amusing scene arises when Hanna is faced with the prospect of her first kiss). In all honesty, I could have gone without this sub-plot. It's very clear within the first fifteen minutes that Hanna will obviously be socially awkward - I didn't need the movie to prove it to me. But I suppose there needed to be a bit of fluff and humor added in, because this movie is considerably dark. Also, the whole genetically-enhanced-DNA storyline wasn't necessary, either. I almost would have rather believed that Hanna was just a natural-born badass.

Saorise Ronan's performance is nothing short of impressive. I wasn't a fan of her in "Atonement" or "The Lovely Bones," but I've had this feeling that she would find her niche. Eric Bana is always a solid actor - can you say, "Munich"? And of course, Cate Blanchett is
pure movie royalty. I have to give tons of credit also to The Chemical Brothers - the score of this movie really pumps you up and gets you in the mood for the action on the horizon.

The story of "Hanna" made me think that the movie was some sort of metaphor for the struggles endured by survivors of child abuse. Might sound crazy but if you open your mind to the possibility, it's not hard to imagine the rage and vulnerability of abuse being channeled into the burning desire for vengeance. With her devotion to the brutal art of survival, Hanna herself is a kind of heroine who really earns your respect and instills fear.

I highly recommend "Hanna," everyone. It's entertaining, it's intense, it's character-driven, and it's a masterful action movie that doesn't rely on heavy CGI effects or a star-studded cast. Watch or die.


  1. Excellent review! Being a huge fan of this movie, reading that you agree always makes me happy. "Also, the whole genetically-enhanced-DNA storyline wasn't necessary, either. I almost would have rather believed that Hanna was just a natural-born badass." Amen to that. That was literally the ONLY part of the movie I was like "Eh...could've done without". However, I did like the fact that Erik sort of "betrayed" her by lying about being her father, because it gave her a nice window to leave everything she knew behind and grow up on her I can see why they wanted it. But I'm with you on that one, it just seemed a tad unnecessary.

    Really interesting take on the movie with the whole child abuse bit, I can see why you could put that together with it. It's such a sort of "open ended" movie I think any interpretation is really possible. There is a definitely "loss of innocence" theme that adds props to a child abuse theory.

    PS: Munich is highly underrated, and you're awesome for mentioning it.

  2. @ M. Hufstader: Thank you so much for the detailed feedback! I was starting to get bummed out that no one seemed interested in reading it! But yes, it sounds like you and I are in agreement with some of the disposable elements of HANNA. Definitely concur with your comment about 'loss of innocence.' And f*** yeah MUNICH is awesome!!!


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