Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: Hanna

Do you remember what it was like growing up? Being a teenage has never been easy. Now imagine that you've been kept away from society your entire life and now that you finally get a chance to get out and see the world, CIA agents are trying to kill you. This is Hanna's life.

Raised in a small cabin out in the middle of the woods, Hanna was cut off from civilization and forced to live off the land. Her father, a rouge CIA agent, spent each day training her, putting her through extreme self-defense exercises and home schooling her with nothing more than an encyclopedia and a Brothers Grimm fairytale book. Unbenounced to Hanna, everything was leading up to her highly-anticipated return to society.

I'd like to start off my review by saying that Hanna is not for everybody. Like Black Swan, Hanna is an art house flick, meaning that you have to have an acquired taste to thoroughly enjoy it. However, unlike Black Swan, there aren't any strong obscenities that would completely turn somebody off from this film. I would also like to come right out and say that I kind of love this movie.

Director Joe Wright takes a break from his routine period pieces (Pride & Prejudice, Atonment) to give us this delightfully over-the-top action thriller. And it's exactly that. As Hanna goes about fighting for her life, she takes out an astonishing amount of henchmen and makes it look easy every time. Joe Wright doesn't splice together a ton of random cuts during the fight sequences so they're easy to follow and the Chemical Brothers help to intensify them with some kick-ass fighting music.

The Chem. Bros' music does more for this movie than just intensify the action. When Hanna is not fighting her way through legions of sexually questionable baddies to reach the Grimm House, where she will meet her father, she is busy being a normal teenager: meeting new people and discovering herself. It was Freud who once said that the teenage years are a "search for identity" and that definitely comes through in this film while the lingering soundtrack adapts to fit the mood.  

If you ask me, the atmosphere this film puts out is the most alluring thing about it. As common with most art house films, not everybody will dig the vibe they pick up on, but I relished it in Hanna. Set by some terrific performances from Eric Bana as Hanna's father, Cate Blanchett as the creepy CIA villainess, and Saoirse Ronan, who steals the show as Hanna, and some subtle fairytale symbolism, this movie feels almost irresistable.

I say "almost" because the explanation that comes later in the film feels a little generic and could have used a bit more thought; I didn't buy it. However, the filmmakers don't dwell on it and it never affects the overall story.

Hanna is a grade A action thriller that is guaranteed to be some of the most fun you have at the movies all year.


  1. I wanna see this so bad! All these awesome reviews (like yours) are making me so impatient. Saoirse Ronan looks great in it. It does look like a lot of fun. Only two months until I get to see it...

  2. Why thank ya[: Why two months?