Friday, April 08, 2011

Hanna’s Got a Gun: Saoirse Ronan Kicks Some Serious Butt in “Hanna”

“Sometimes children are bad people too.”

It’s difficult to imagine a teenage girl who has never watched TV or listened to music let alone watching Jersey Shore or listening to Justine Bieber. But Hanna (played ferociously by Saoirse Ronan) has never done either. It’s because she was home schooled. Oh and by home schooled I mean she lived in the middle of the wilderness with her father who taught her how to hunt, defend herself and fight like an action superhero. She’s sort of like Hit Girl from “Kick-Ass” without the disturbing sociopathic behavior. What happens when this young teen, only about sixteen years old, is let out on the world she knows nothing much about? Oh and people want her dead. See the action-packed “Hanna” to find out.

Hanna was raised by father Erik who is played by Eric Bana. We see that they’re in some sort of snowy, woodsy environment. Come to find out that they’re in the wilds of Finland. Erik trains Hanna to have all the skills of an assassin. Erik himself is an ex-CIA agent who we learn had gone rogue. Everything else we don’t know we learn as the film progresses. Erik finally releases her and sends her throughout Europe with a mission to kill a scary operative named Marissa (played ever-so-wonderfully by Cate Blanchett). Hanna is captured an actually kills a Marissa stand-in, who she mistakes for the real person. Now on the run, she’s trying to meet up with her father, while actually being pursued by the very alive Marissa and the henchmen she has dispatched to stop the girl.

“From the director of ‘Atonement’” isn’t exactly what you expect to hear when watching an action thriller about a teenage girl who kicks serious ass. But Joe Wright, surprisingly enough, is the perfect choice to tell this story because he tells his stories with such strong visual elements. There many striking visuals here, which he certainly displayed a knack for in the beautiful “Atonement.” He even borrows his trademark long take tracking shot and employs it here as Erik is pursued by bad guys who he then must fight off. And it’s all done in one glorious, well choreographed take. Sure it may not win a cinematography Oscar or anything, but you so rarely find such great camerawork in an action film, you almost forget that it’s possible to have beautiful and striking images blended so well with all the shooting and arrow flinging. Another major plus here is the terrifically catchy and punchy electronic score by The Chemical Brothers. This one is download worthy.

Of course, “Hanna” isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen and it probably isn’t for everyone. I did find some parts that didn’t quite seem to gel for me. I though it sort of took a while for the film to get going and so much of the film’s questions remain unanswered for so long it almost makes things confusing. Why is Hanna being training in the woods in the middle of nowhere? Why does she want to kill Marissa and why does Marissa want to kill her? And Hanna meets up with a family traveling through Morocco. She befriends the family’s teenage daughter and the bad guys begin trailing them. Hanna gets away and then we never see these people again. In fact, I’m not even sure why the film actually exists in the first place, but that’s generally the case with action flicks. They exist for entertainment purposes and it’s certainly done its job.

“Hanna” is fun action movie; even if it has a fault or two it features a great soundtrack, great cinematography and beautiful locations and some really great performances. Ronan is certainly a talented young thing. She’s already been nominated for an Oscar and she hasn’t even turned seventeen yet. I love that she plays Hanna as a girl who doesn’t know much about the outside world (she’s mesmerized by a blinking florescent light as she’s never actually seen electricity) except how to survive and kill people. I guess sisters really are doin’ it for themselves. GRADE: B

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