Hanna was a somewhat disturbing but very entertaining film.
Here are the deets:
Written by Seth Lochhead and David Farr (story by Farr)
Directed by Joe Wright
Starring: Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), Eric Bana (Erik (funny him having a similar name as his character, same as in Hulk when he was David Banner), Cate Blanchett (Marissa Wiegler), and Tom Hollander (Isaacs).
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In Hanna, we get to see a 16-year-old girl brutally kick the snot and life out of a bunch of trained agents and killers. I didn’t see the movie Kick-Ass, but I imagine this is also what you see there, but in Hanna, it is done with motivation, a focus on characters, and a certain beauty.
Ronan plays Hanna, a girl who has been raised by her father, Erik, in the frigid wilderness of Finland. We don’t immediately understand why, but it appears that Erik has either decided to take homeschooling to an entirely different level or he is trying to protect and prepare Hanna for future encounters with horrible people.
So the movie starts with Hanna taking down a caribou (?) with a single, well-placed arrow. Then she fights with her father (not an argument, a brutal and excellently realistic knock-down fight) for training purposes and after that she hauls the dead animal home on a hand-made sled. She is finding the solitary, repetitive life in the wilderness dreary, obviously, and it comes to the point that she activates a beacon which will apparently bring someone named Marissa Wiegler, who wants to kill Hanna, says Erik.
Hanna is supposed to kill Marissa first. And apparently Hanna and Erik are to meet somewhere in Berlin after the deed is done, when they will ostensibly be free to live their lives.
So begins an action-laden film that deals with the issues it brings up quite effectively. One instance is when Hanna ends up alone with a boy, and they are forming an emotional attachment and we expect a kiss, but that’s not how Hanna gets close to people. To the boy’s surprise. And pain. Later we see that Hanna still doesn’t quite get how to show emotional closeness, but is trying hard.
I really appreciated how the movie demonstrated Hanna’s competence at killing, melee combat, and dodging assassins, but that she simply has no idea about normal and modern amenities. She can kill a man or a creature, but light switches blow her mind, as do TVs, running water and anything to do with electricity. This disconnect is very well dealt with.
She even struggles with interacting with other human beings, so when she encounters a British family that is trucking across northern Africa and into Europe, she really has no idea how to act normal. The young woman, who ends up becoming Hanna’s first friend, is intrigued by Hanna and, hungry for excitement, encourages Hanna to join them.
The story, while somewhat predictable, unfolds at a very fast pace, with Hanna and Erik both making their way to their rendezvous and answers about Hanna’s past and who she really is being revealed at a nice clip.
I have very nearly nothing bad to say about this film. I think it delivers as an action film that deals with larger issues as well. I think the characters are excellent and the acting only makes them better. Ronan is extraordinary and has moments of such grace and beauty that I just think she’s going to do wonderful things. I put her on the same level as Anna-Sophia Robb. High praise from me.
The camera work in general is wonderful, helping the audience feel Hanna’s disconnection, confusion, and desperation at times. There are a few moments, one with shaky cam (done. I am done with this type of filming. Isn’t everyone?) and one where the scene is spun upside down a few times, where the camera work failed. Otherwise it was excellent.
The music, as with most movies today, was slightly heavy-handed, but in general added nuance to the film.
I think the movie left one minor plot point out at the end, and I wish Hanna had learned to feel remorse or something about the killing of her enemies, but these are minor. All in all, this movie deals with its issues well and packs quite a nice punch. What is more, dialect is very nicely executed, with the exception of Cate Blanchett’s, I assume, Texas accent. It faded in and out.
My only question: Did Hanna really eat that egg?
For parents and other concerned parties: There is plenty of violence with only a smattering of blood spatter. Language is more or less tame. No nudity at all and only one scene where sex can be heard.
(Pens represent writing, cameras represent acting, and screens are a combination of all the film’s elements)