Film Review: Hanna

My daughter must be as fierce as Hanna or I will be terribly disappointed.

Saw this last night with MissEmmaJames and it was pretty good. Fantastic performances from Ronan, Blanchett and Bana. I recommend it as a must see.

The Gist: Teenage Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is trained by her ex-spy father Erik Heller (Eric Banna) to kill the woman who killed her mother, and who would have killed her as a baby. After a failed attempt at Marissa’s life, an escape from a secure government facility (after ending everybody in a one mile radius), she journeys across the world (Alaska, Morocco, Spain, Berlin) leaving behind a ton of collateral damage, and eventually discovers she is 'abnormal'.

I mean, really. What was your first clue you were abnormal Hanna? The fact you could kill grown men in one move with your bare hands? Or the fact your dad trained you your whole life to kill people using any weapon at your disposal?

At first glance the plot and storyline appears seamless. But when you think about it afterward a number of aspects simply don't make sense. For example (though poignant and sweet) Hanna learns about the world as she travels to meet her dad in Berlin. Like electricity, music, and kissing boys (my daughter will be able to drop a boy with wandering lips like she does too). Her father Eric never taught her any of life’s basics. Like how to pick pockets so you have money to buy food. Okay, so that is not a life basic for you normal people *snicker* but surely it would be for a spy, right? It seemed as if he never had any real hopes of her surviving the assassination attempt on Marissa (Blanchett’s) life since he never taught her how to handle the real world once she was done, or in case anything went wrong, like it does. And he never told her the truth. So naturally when Hanna learns what she is, she freaks out, and beats the crap out of him. In the it end means he dies to save her and their last words are ones spoken in anger ... but why didn't he tell her the truth? He went as far as to train her to be a merciless killer, but failed to mention the reason behind any of it. 

There is a heavy influence from Brothers Grimm (Die BrĂ¼der Grimm), and a crap load of symbolism from their folk/fairy tales that I didn't understand, but if you’ve read their stuff I’m sure it will delight you. 

Underrated actor alert! Tom Hollander (Pirates of Caribbean, Pride and Prejudice) must get a mention for his brilliant performance as the German Isaacs. The man has such range, he is believable in whatever he does. Blanchett borders on creepy on several occasions, her character, Marissa, seems the classic bad guy (with a thing for ugly shoes and brushing her teeth until they bleed), but we never discover why the experimentation on human embryos' was shut down (considering it was successful in producing soldiers like Hanna). And even at the end you're not sure if she wanted to hug Hanna or kill her.

There is this one shot when Bana goes into the tube station and does a slick fight sequence with four other guys for about five minutes, and I swear it's a continuous tracking shot weaving through the action and it breaks the 180 rule, crossing the line on several occasions ... I think ... unless Bana turned with the camera as he fought ... which is even more mind boggling! 

Anyway, Hanna is filmed beautifully, stylish, and at no point do you roll your eyes and think ... this would never happen in real life.

There is a significant difference in European and American films I am beginning to adore. For example I saw Thor, and it was good, but it was, well, just an action movie and shot like one. Films from Europe have style, sophistication, and still give you the action and drama, but gorgeous visuals, superior acting and offbeat music to compliment it.

In this case the acting and cinematography in Hanna was stronger than the script … a rare thing.

Director: Joe Wright
Running Time: 111 minutes

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