That’s right, kids! It’s Four Review Tuesday! Yes, this is the part of the show where I realise I have nothing better to do today than assuage my personal guilt for not updating my blog regularly enough. First up is Hanna, as it is still viewable in your local cinematorium.
I don’t really buy into the whole “young assassin” thing any more. It was fine in Léon as it seemed organic, but Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass and now Hanna in er…Hanna seem to be taking it a bit too far. I’m sure that if you trained a toddler how to use firearms and nunchucks as soon as they could hold them up until say, their 12th birthday, you’d have a considerable ass-whuppin’ machine on your hands. The thing I have a problem with is the hand-to-hand fighting. No way would a 12 year old be able to take on a fully grown adult thug. These aren’t just random never-been-in-a-fight adults. They’re trained, paid muscle. No fucking way. Anyway. Too much thinking, not enough reviewing.
“You didn’t prepare me for this.”
Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous heroine, a teen assassin (fuck off) trained from a young age by her father, former CIA man Erik Heller (Eric Bana). She has had an unsual upbringing, consisting mostly of mystery and intensive combat training in the Finnish wilderness. After some plot spoiler-y stuff happens, Hanna finds herself hunted by a corrupt CIA agent named Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett). The easiest comparision to draw to this film is that of the Jason Bourne trilogy, specifically The Bourne Identity. I wanted to do something with the phrase “kiddie Bourne” but my ethics committee advised against it. The details are changed, but a skilled killer being persued across many locations by a government agency whilst all the time finding out about their past? The protagonist could be a fucking dog with three legs and still remind me of the Bourne films. Anyway, the plot isn’t bad by any stretch and does keep you interested until the Chemical Brothers scored credits roll. Saoirse Ronan is seriously impressive as Hanna, being able to realistically portray a detached, cold blooded killer with a loveable innocent side. Unfortunately, she sometimes reminded me of great Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter films, giving a whole new spin to the general grittiness. Her accent was dead on too. Thinking about it, accents are probably one of the major recurring interests in this film. For every great one (Ronan and surprisingly, Eric Bana) there’s a not-so-great one (Blanchett’s Southern drawl is terrible as is Tom Hollander’s stereotypical camp Cherman accent)
Hanna herself is a great character. She’s a killer, but also a childhood-less teen. There’s a great scene in Morocco where Hanna first comes into contact with modern technology such as television and kettles. Up to this point, we’ve seen Hanna comfortably navigate government buildings packed with highly-trained agents and traverse great distances on her own. It’s a great moment of vulnerability. The film’s later attempts to expand upon this are less successful. Hanna meets a fucking annoying British family consisting of a “yummeh mummeh”, posh-areas-of-London type matriarch, an easy-going beardy dad and two kids, a teen daughter Sophie and a little boy, Miles. Sophie befriends Hanna and is often used as the comparative “normal” teen and it gets pretty grating. There’s a sweet scene involving a bracelet, but the scene where some Spanish boys take the girls out takes a wrong turn at Charm Street and goes down Annoyance Avenue instead. If Hanna’d actually kissed the boy, it would have been fine and touching. As it stands, it seems like a desperate attempt at humour. However (invisotexted movie spoiling talk) the reveal on who or what Hanna is feels like it belongs in another film. You can’t have gritty realism one minute and drag out the ol’ genetically created super soldier thing the next. It doesn’t work.
Blanchett’s character, conversely, is weaker than a petrol station coffee. She’s incredibly vain and always cleaning her teeth or being concerned with her attire. That’s basically her in a nutshell. The usually awesome Tom Hollander as a camp, bleached blonde, tracksuited German doesn’t work either. My mate Laurence made a good point, remarking that Hollander and his skinhead cronies reminded him of ’70s Bond villains. Nail on the head there- and there’s not even a cocked Moore eyebrow to balance things out.
The action scenes are great and not at all what I’d expect from the director of Atonement. The fight choreography is especially good and both Ronan and Bana impress in equal measures. The brief shootout between Marissa and Heller is impressive and genuinely exciting. The locales are gorgeous too, ranging from the beautiful Finnish woods to a creepy-as-shit abandoned theme park. Whoever was the location scout deserves a raise.
“I just missed your heart.”
There’s just something about Hanna I didn’t like. There are some compelling performances and some enjoyable action bits, but there’s something that doesn’t quite gel. The whole film’s a bit off-kilter and can’t decide what it wants to be. I initially enjoyed it in the cinema, but looking back the good things started to fade away. It’s alright, just not as amazing as all the good reviews led me to believe it would be.