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April 17, 2011

3

Hanna

by Franz Patrick


Hanna (2011)
★★ / ★★★★

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) and her father (Eric Bana), a former CIA agent, had been living in isolation in the snowy mountains of Europe. Hanna was trained to defend herself, to always be alert, and to never trust anyone. But the reason for their preparation was unknown to us. When the two finally revealed their location using a tracker, Marissa (Cate Blanchett), a CIA operative, was given the case because she was willing to do whatever necessary to assissinate the sixteen-year-old girl. “Hanna” had all of the elements of a film I would immediately love despite its less significant flaws. Unfortunately, it failed to explore its characters in a meaningful way so that we would care more about what would happen to them when placed in a situation where a small mistake could cost them their lives. For example, Erik, Hanna’s father, seemed to have a past which involved Marissa when she was still an active agent in the field. But the bond between the two opposing sides was never under a magnifying glass. Instead, there was one flashback designed to explain it all. I thought the writers were confused about the notion of subtlety versus keeping its audiences in the dark for the sake of mystery. When Erik and Marissa were finally in the same room after years of not seeing each other, there was, without a doubt, genuine tension. However, it was because the technical aspects, like editing and camera angles, were so strong. It wasn’t because we fully understood their history and the possible repercussions if one of them received a bullet in the head. There was also a strand that involved Hanna meeting Sophie (Jessica Barden), a hilarious and outspoken girl who traveled with her family (Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Aldo Maland), and how the two eventually became friends. The things Hanna and Sophie went through, like spending time with handsome Spanish boys in motorcycles, were typical coming-of-age elements designed to explore Hanna’s capacity for humanity, despite being a killing machine, and the childhood she never had a chance to cherish. It was effective in its own way because we had a chance to see Hanna laugh and, in small dosages, experience emotions outside of her training. Unfortunately, Hanna had to go back to reality and face the woman who wanted to kill her. Blanchett sported a great haircut and creepy compulsions, but I wish she was given the chance to really show the monster behind her composure. Directed by Joe Wright, “Hanna” was not as rewarding as it should have been. I appreciated the risks it took so that warrants a slight recommendation. However, it could have been more engaging if we knew Erik and Marissa just as deeply as the title character.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Apr 18 2011

    I feel like, in some ways, this might’ve been a better book. Just to elaborate the characters (as you said, Marissa and Erik). Not first person, of course. Or, at least, the task of writing anything from Hanna’s direct perspective seems like a rather daunting task.

    Reply
    • Apr 21 2011

      I never thought about it that way. That would be an interesting read. I’ll check your place to see if you posted your thoughts on the movie.

      Reply
  2. Apr 28 2011

    I appreciate your point of view regarding this movie. I agree that the characters weren’t very fleshed out. Blanchett’s Marissa was almost a caricature (albeit a very well-acted one). I would have loved more backstory, or really, more story. If you think about it, there’s not much plot in this movie. Hanna escapes, runs, and fights a few times in the middle. She questions her own existence/birth a few times, but this isn’t even given that much attention.

    However, I did enjoy the film for what it was, a thematic action thriller, not a character study. Check out my review if you have the chance: http://t.co/OStZ2Ds Would love to hear what you think.

    Reply

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