Film Reviews

HANNA

By • Apr 11th, 2011 •

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KILL BILL: Volume 3?

No, don’t expect Uma Thurman, but be prepared to meet her equal, albeit 25 years younger. In director Joe Wright’s incredibly gripping fairy tale adventure, you’ll be spellbound by Saorise Ronan’s adolescent Hanna, a trained-from-birth raging bull who could have given Jake LaMotta a run for his money in his glory years. For the genre, it’s almost as good as it gets…but don’t expect a CITIZEN KANE. There’s no Rosebud to wrap up the finale–& that’s the problem.

The bad news: plot-wise, the very last few minutes of the film don’t measure up to its absorbing premise, and tends to keep you hanging at the close.

The good news: So it’s not perfect, yet/still, “Hanna” provides enough superior acting and edge-of-your seat action that’s definitely worth the detour.

Saorise (pronounced “sur-shuh”) was Briony Tallis, the girl you loved to hate in 2007’s ATONEMENT (also directed by Wright). Here, she’s the girl you just can’t help loving from the get-go, as a beautiful teenager raised in isolation in a remote log cabin in Finland, and taught from day one to be an assassin by her widowed father Erik (Eric Bana). He’s an ex-CIA agent who sends her on a mission practically impossible: to take on her ultimate target, Marissa (Cate Blanchett), a wicked witch of an intelligence chief who, for private reasons of her own, is out to kill them both. En route, Hanna also takes on a cadre of Marissa’s secret operatives with unnerving skill and stamina…and beats the hell out of them as she adroitly eludes capture without benefit of vitamins or Viagra. Just ardent determination. After all, it’s all she knows…and she pulls no punches. In other words, don’t mess with her.

The back story: At 16, it’s Hanna’s first time out; she’s never ever had contact with the outside world. Wouldn’t have a clue who Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga or Lindsay Lohan are–or any of the popular hotshots of her day. In fact, she’s never even heard music or had any friends. She’s been totally home-schooled by her dad with only an encyclopedia and a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales to nourish her remarkable intellect. (She can speak a myriad of languages with ease, and with almost superhuman recall, can recite from memory practically everything she’s ever learned.) So when she leaves home for uncharted territory on her slightly obscure assignment, you’ll be pulling for her all the way.

There’s as much violence depicted here as in any Tarantino film, though because of the heroine’s almost mythic fairy tale innocence, not enough to warrant hiding your eyes. Even at an hour (I checked my watch) the excitement and intensity didn’t let up – even for a nanosec. And despite Hanna’s aggressive behavior, you’ll continually feel both sympathy and empathy for her character- even with a vague sci-fi revelation thrown in midstream about her origin and basic humanity.

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An afterthought: In a blatant exhibition of Hanna’s prowess, the film opens with a realistic harrowing image–of her killing a huge reindeer. Not sleek like Dasher or Dancer, but a living creature nonetheless. I’d assumed at the end credits there’d be notice that “No animals were injured during the shooting of this film.” If it was there, I missed it.

P.S. Probably hid my eyes.

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One Response »

  1. Hanna was one of the worst film, everything about the film was terrible. I hated the opening scene when she hunted for the deer. Does anyone know if the deer was really killed in/for that movie? Saoirse is a good actor but everything about this film was terrible.

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