johnlink ranks HANNA (2011)
There was a point half-way through this film where I popped up IMDB on my phone to see from where I recognized an actor. When I landed on the page for HANNA, I saw that the film was rated PG-13. I thought that it must be a mistake. Turns out it is not. This is one of the toughest and most brutal PG-13 movies I’ve seen, both in violence and in theme. With some of the stuff that I know films have had to cut to avoid an R rating, it’s amazing that this film got through. Not that it matters (which is why I’m talking about this up here rather than in the article proper), but it is an interesting side-note.
I watched HANNA (2011) on 2.5.13. It was my first viewing of the film.
Dad (Eric Bana) is living in the brutally cold forest raising his daughter Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) to be a killing machine. When she comes of age at 16, he lets her loose on the world. More specifically, he lets her loose to go and kill a woman named Marissa (Cate Blanchett), a CIA operative who was responsible for the death of Hanna’s mother.
This is a supremely European film. The music sounds like it comes a club, the villains are oddly eccentric, the architecture feels odd (especially in the building HANNA is first brought to by the CIA), the entire of this movie feels European. That is certainly not a complaint, there is plenty here to establish this film as unique. It is a cousin to films as varied as THE PROFESSIONAL or RUN LOLA RUN.
HANNA is entertainment, and it is pretty good at being so. Style is certainly preferred over substance, which works to the benefit of some characters at various times because it seems as though the film only allows people to kill in a dramatic and sensational way. HANNA could be killed a couple of times at the film’s climax, but the movie is too busy running us up an amusement park ride for the benefit of style. This doesn’t hurt the movie per se, though it is in stark contrast to some of the heavier thematic elements in this film.
Cate Blanchett’s Marissa is evil. She has absolutely no regard for human life, and she will kill anybody who saw anything which might get her caught. A family of four who helps Hanna is central to the plot. After Marissa catches them she gets the answers she needs. We never see them again, though the answer regarding to their fate happens slightly earlier when Marissa informs the father that she doesn’t like her job on certain days. If I were to make an argument as to why this movie is uncomfortable, it would be because of what happens to that family.
There are some fun, light moments as Hanna is clearly a fish out of water. She has been raised by her Dad in isolation since she was a baby. She’s never had any real social interaction with anyone, so she says and does awkward things without any regard for how or why they are awkward. The film, perhaps, is a bit too tangential when it hooks Hanna up with a boy just to have her rough him up, but the friendship Hanna builds with Sophie (Jessica Barden) through that episode is important. Most of the other characters in this film represent either what Hanna is not or what Hanna could become. Sophie is the average girl who Hanna is not, but that she is what Hanna could have been had she had a normal life.
Overall, I liked this movie. The style works, the acting is pretty good, and the story has the ability to surprise at several key moments. There is a nice build of suspense, even if the payoff isn’t quite as satisfying as I would like. This is a unique film in look and feel, and it certainly is not just another average looking action film.
FILM: 7; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 6
FINAL SCORE: 7