Movie of the Week: Hanna (2011)


Hanna was the last DVD I purchased before acquiring my PS3 and opening my world to the beauty of Blu-ray.  For reasons unknown, I didn’t get around to actually watching it until this past weekend.  I ended up watching it twice in less than 24 hours.

Hanna tells the story of a young girl, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan… will somebody please tell me how to pronounce her name), who is raised by her father Erik (Eric Bana) in the forests of Finland.  Opening with an ice-blue-eyed young woman hunting an elk with bow and arrow before lamenting that she just missed the heart, and finishing the job with a Luger.  Right off the bat we know we are not dealing with an average 16 year old girl.

As she cleans and guts the steaming entrails of the aforementioned elk, her father appears behind her… letting her know she would be dead by now if he were someone else, and the films first fight sequence ensues… a whooping two minutes in.  Nothing says I love you quite like a head lock and a punch to the nose.

What we don’t know at the time, and we learn as the movie unspools it’s story, is that Erik worked as CIA agent, he is wanted, and Hanna is special.  Erik gives Hanna the option of triggering a homing beacon so that Marissa (Cate Blanchett) can find them.  Obviously, she triggers that beacon, and the race is on.

A great story, wonderful action sequences and a soundtrack that was somewhat reminiscent of Run Lola Run… house music for the uber-spy set.  Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice), the tone of this film versus his previous outings could not be more different.  He and Ronan had worked together on Atonement and she supposedly recommended him for the director’s chair… appears to be a great working pair.

Overall, from beginning to end, I was riveted.  There were a few moments where things slowed down, but was very much rewarded as those slower moments helped inform some of the tension that would follow.  Much of the middle has to do with a family Hanna comes into contact with and how she deals with being in a modern world… never having had electricity, running water, nothing modern with the exception of the Luger.  The highlight of this family is seeing Olivia Williams (Rushmore) again, always a delight.

My one gripe… Cate Blanchett’s accent.  Normally, she is one of the greatest actresses we are honored to have working today… and she is wonderful as a CIA agent… but her southern/Texan accent seems to come and go with various degrees of twang.  There are moments where you can’t hear any accent, and other times she is the female John Wayne.

Hanna is essentially a cat and mouse game… who will catch who and when.  Like a less violent and foul mouthed Kick-Ass, there is something magical about watching young girls take out adults.  Treat yourself to a fun movie… watch Hanna.

Just missed your heart,
Cornelius J. Blahg

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