SAOIRSE RONAN   CATE BLANCHETT   ERIC BANA

HANNA


 If you are going into Joe Wright’s new film expecting a by the numbers spy thriller, you are in for a big surprise. Hanna is one of 2011’s most odd and unique films. Wright, who directed Pride & Prejudice and Atonement (also with Ronan), certainly takes a different direction in his career with this project. With The Chemical Brothers on the wild soundtrack, Hanna is a thrill ride with Kill Bill type antics, but it takes almost a theme park type atmosphere with the editing, locations and vivid characters. If Wright’s intention was to deliver a film unlike anything else we have seen before, then this is a success.

    Raised in the snowy forest, Hanna (Ronan) has only ever known the wilderness and the training of her father (Bana). Now that she is of age and fully capable of protecting herself, her father gives her the option to go into the world. When Hanna flips the switch it will certainly alert the secret agent who wants her dead; it is time for Hanna to face the world head on. Marissa Weigler (Blanchett) had, up until now, lost the trail of Erik and this mysterious girl.  But now she will put all of her resources into stopping what she failed to do over fifteen years ago. Hanna’s father said it will never be over unless she or Marissa is dead.

    The editing of this film really stood out as one of the production's best elements, which shouldn’t be a surprise because Wright has quickly risen as one of the most in demand film makers in Europe (that long running scene in Atonement is still talked about today). The unusual energy to the film, with the thumping soundtrack, wild location shots and art direction, gives Hanna it's own particular style and feel. As fun to watch as it is hilarious, the script showcases a variety of misfit characters from a teenage know-it-all who uses words like “vomitose” to Marissa, who is obsessed with cleaning her Hilary Duff-like teeth.

    In a scene where Marissa and Hanna meet, I found it very interesting that we have two very strong female characters on opposing sides. I can’t remember the last time we saw that taken seriously in film. Hanna might be too alternative for those just wanting to see a linear film, but Wright has never been associated with any film that took a simplistic route; he is a director who will create imaginative hardships just to challenge his viewer. Bana, like usual, blends into the scenery; he only has a handful of scenes. Oscar nominee Ronan and Oscar winner Blanchett are, of course, the film's highlights. Ronan and Blanchett will also be seen together in the upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel.

 Final Thought – Unusual and uniquely entertaining.


Grade B

By: Dustin Chase W.

Editor: Michael Woody


Dr. Donna Copeland’s

2nd OPINION

This movie begins with scenes of the snowy Artic region, reminding me of opening scenes in the George Clooney film, The American.  In both stories, as one savors the pristine beauty of the mountain scenery, shocking events soon begin to take place, shaking the audience out of its reverie.  It’s an apt prelude to a tale about a young—seemingly innocent young girl/woman—who will be chased and threatened through several countries as she travels on her own.  

The plot is intriguing, and the viewer is kept in the dark much of the time; the full story only comes out toward the end of the film.  In the meantime, the child uses unbelievable strength and cunning in evading her pursuers.  Separately, her father is likewise pursued, and after the girl has completed her mission they are to meet again at a specific place in Berlin.  In her journey, the girl meets up with an American family on vacation in their mini-van.  They shelter the girl part of the time, and offer some levity to the intense film with their quirkiness.  This is a relief, because much of the time the audience is on the edge of their seats.  

The action of the movie centers around who the girl is, where she came from, and the reason for her mother’s death.  It’s exciting to watch, and the actors play their roles well, especially Saoirse Ronan who plays Hanna.  The bad guys are appropriately creepy-fearsome, Cate Blanchett’s character is icy mean, and Eric Bana as the father is convincingly protective and rather hardened as one would expect of an ex-CIA agent.  

The plot is complex, but not well enough thought through to make it entirely convincing and realistic.  If one can suspend too much thinking and just go with the flow of the film, though, it can be highly entertaining and fun.