blurb

Latest Movie News Headlines

Review: Hanna

Apr. 5, 2011by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a sixteen-year-old unlike any other. Raised by her father, a former CIA agent named Erik Heller (Eric Bana), in the wilderness, and trained to be the perfect assassin- Hanna now finds herself alone in the modern world. Meanwhile, she's being hunted by a ruthless CIA bureau chief Marissa Veigler (Cate Blanchett) who's bent on capturing the girl.

REVIEW: When I first heard the plot to HANNA, I thought it didn't sound like anything special. I mean, teenage-girl assassin? Didn't KICK-ASS already do that? That said, I was intrigued by the high-profile cast, and the fact that Joe Wright, director of PRIDE & PREJUDICE, ATONEMENT, and THE SOLOIST was attached, as he seemed like a unique choice to helm an action film. I also thought the trailer looked mighty impressive, but I still wasn't sure if the premise would sustain a whole film.


Happily, I've lived to eat those words, as HANNA is the most kick-ass action ride I've seen in a long-time. Granted, the premise of HANNA isn't really anything special, but it's all about the execution- which is brilliant. First of all, this is nothing like KICK-ASS. While that was a good film, it was essentially a satire, while HANNA is dead serious, and dare I say it- even somewhat believable (see the film before you mock me). As far as I'm concerned, HANNA puts Joe Wright on the map in a big way as one of the most promising of the new crop of directors that are just coming up.

As much as I've enjoyed Wright's other films (even the much-maligned THE SOLOIST), I think HANNA is his finest, and most entertaining film to date, and that's not just the action fan in me speaking.

HANNA really is unlike any action flick we've seen in a while. It's an art-house/action mash-up that truly feels unique throughout- thanks in no small part to the amazing score by The Chemical Brothers, which ranks right up there with Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross' score for THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and Daft Punk's TRON:LEGACY soundtrack. It actually reminded me of the way Tangerine Dream used to score films like SORCERER and THIEF. It's a brilliant, compulsively listen-able score (which I'll admit, I'm pumping through my iPod as I write this), and if there's any justice it'll be remembered at next year's Oscars. Hiring them was an inspired choice.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a C'mon Hollywood complaining about how Hollywood keeps butchering fight scenes, Had I seen HANNA, I might not have written it, as this contains the best action sequence I've seen since the parkour chase in CASINO ROYALE. The sequence in question is a masterful tracking shot (shades of CHILDREN OF MEN, or Wright's own Dunkirk Invasion sequence from ATONEMENT), which follows Eric Bana's character into an underground parking garage as he's stalked by half a dozen adversaries. They rush him, and he ends up fighting off the whole group, while the camera stays far enough away so we can see what Bana's doing throughout- and most impressively, proves he's doing his own fighting.


Besides Wright, if anyone's career deserves a big boost from HANNA it's Bana, as this is probably the best role he's had since MUNICH (a great film, which doesn't get the respect it deserves) or even CHOPPER. Why isn't this guy on the shortlist for more action roles? He's in great shape, can fight, is charismatic, and most importantly, is a great actor. While this is undoubtedly a supporting role, it's still a great, three-dimensional part for Bana, and one which THE BOURNE LEGACY producers should take note of, as the guy would be a natural for that part.

Of course, this is really Saoirse Ronan's film, and I couldn't imagine another actress her age that would have been able to do what she does with the part. It helps that Ronan's got an somewhat ethereal look about her that makes her seem a tad other-worldly, and as the titular HANNA, she has a primal rage that makes her come across as almost feral at times. That said, she keeps a certain sheltered innocence that keeps you firmly on her side throughout, as HANNA, while somewhat cold-blooded, is never cruel, and can be empathetic.

Uniquely, Wright adjusts his storytelling technique whenever we cut to one of the three leads; Ronan, Bana or Blanchett's perpective. When it's centered on Blanchett, it's almost a black comedy, while Bana's part of the film is a lean and mean BOURNE-like thriller. From Hanna's perspective it almost becomes like a fairy-tale (with the Brother's Grimm getting name-checked more than once), particularly in a scene late in the film when Hanna meets one of her father's contacts. In her eyes, the man- who would be strange to anyone else, becomes an almost magical character. It's a fascinating approach, and just one of the many things I loved about HANNA.

Another plus is that Ronan plays the character 100% seriously. No winking at the camera, or action-heroine posing here. This is a raw, ferocious, disciplined performance, and along with her recent turn in THE WAY BACK promises that Ronan will be entertaining us for years to come. For my money, she has the potential to be the next Jodie Foster.


It also helps that Cate Blanchett makes for a throughly despicable villain. Sporting a Southern twang, Blanchett is downright scary as the buttoned up CIA agent, with a sadistic streak a mile long. It's unlike any other role Blanchett has played, and damn is she good. I also loved her henchman, a bleached blond, yellow-tracksuit wearing psycho played by Tom Hollander (who was brilliant in IN THE LOOP). A nice touch has Hollander whistling a motif that frequently appears in the score, throughout the film.

I suppose one could nitpick HANNA a tad, as there's a somewhat clichd subplot where HANNA takes up with a vacationing family (headed by Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng- as the type of hippie-dippie parents that haunt Patton Oswalt's nightmares). However, it all serves a purpose, and as a whole, HANNA is a pretty amazing movie-going experience. While it's still pretty early in 2011 to be picking favourites, HANNA is without a doubt the best studio-film I've seen so-far, and one that I fully expect to turn up on my top 10 list at the end of the year. PLEASE, go see this movie, as we really need creative, outside-the-box, action films like this to be popular. Joe Wright gives me new hope for the future of action cinema. Most importantly, it proves you can make something that's satisfying as both a popcorn film, and a piece of art. Hollywood take notice.

Extra Tidbit: David Bowie's song, 'Kooks' is featured on the soundtrack. Bowie actually wrote that song about his son Zowie, aka- director Duncan Jones (SOURCE CODE, MOON).
Source: JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

+1
2:57AM on 04/09/2011
Just saw it, and it's very good indeed. Although I think the subplot mentioned above bothered me a bit more than it did Chris.

I loved the ambitious style that Wright brought to the film though, one of the most unique action films I've seen in years. Also, Eric Bana rocks.
Just saw it, and it's very good indeed. Although I think the subplot mentioned above bothered me a bit more than it did Chris.

I loved the ambitious style that Wright brought to the film though, one of the most unique action films I've seen in years. Also, Eric Bana rocks.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-1
12:42AM on 04/09/2011
I really liked Hanna it's one of the best movies out this year..but I disagree with Wright's attack on Sucker Punch.
I really liked Hanna it's one of the best movies out this year..but I disagree with Wright's attack on Sucker Punch.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
5:13PM on 04/07/2011
I'm excited to see Joe Wright do something different. As much as I loved ATONEMENT and PRIDE & PREJUDICE, like mandingo said, it's good to see him stretching a bit more. Definitely looking forward to this!!
I'm excited to see Joe Wright do something different. As much as I loved ATONEMENT and PRIDE & PREJUDICE, like mandingo said, it's good to see him stretching a bit more. Definitely looking forward to this!!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
4:04PM on 04/07/2011

Not sure If I'll see

I like action and I like the chemical brothers but I'm not really feeling this movie. My main issue is probably Saoirse Ronan. I'm just not that big a fan of hers. To be honest I probably would have seen this if they had gotten someone else in the role. I like the trailer but mainly becasuse of the music, and I'm sure the soundtrack will be awesome but I'm not sure if I'll see this movie.
I like action and I like the chemical brothers but I'm not really feeling this movie. My main issue is probably Saoirse Ronan. I'm just not that big a fan of hers. To be honest I probably would have seen this if they had gotten someone else in the role. I like the trailer but mainly becasuse of the music, and I'm sure the soundtrack will be awesome but I'm not sure if I'll see this movie.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+2
11:43PM on 04/05/2011
Yay, I'm glad this is good. I didn't doubt this would be, but it's the first film of the year that I'm excited for that's gotten positive reviews. I disagree about the premise. The trailer very clearly shows that this is a more serious film and comparing it Kick Ass simply because they both share a young girl who kills doesn't mean that this premise isn't intriguing. In fact, the premise is one of the reasons I'm excited to see this. I'm also very excited about the Chems scoring this. I'm a
Yay, I'm glad this is good. I didn't doubt this would be, but it's the first film of the year that I'm excited for that's gotten positive reviews. I disagree about the premise. The trailer very clearly shows that this is a more serious film and comparing it Kick Ass simply because they both share a young girl who kills doesn't mean that this premise isn't intriguing. In fact, the premise is one of the reasons I'm excited to see this. I'm also very excited about the Chems scoring this. I'm a huge fan of theirs and will definitely be picking up the soundtrack for this. Can't wait to see this friday.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:49PM on 04/05/2011
Nice review Chris. Saoirse Ronan is the best young actress around and one of the best period. She elevates every film she appears in. Looking forward to seeing this.
Nice review Chris. Saoirse Ronan is the best young actress around and one of the best period. She elevates every film she appears in. Looking forward to seeing this.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-6
4:46PM on 04/05/2011
Not really feeling it. Gonna pass, at least until it's out on DVD.
Not really feeling it. Gonna pass, at least until it's out on DVD.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:45PM on 04/05/2011

Joe Wright

I'm very glad to see him show some versatility and succeed. His Atonement was one of my favorite films of 2007 and was cheated out of more than one Oscar if you ask me. I'm also glad you brought up the Dunkirk long cut scene from it because it was one of the greatest cinematic moments of the last decade. Looking forward to seeing this.
I'm very glad to see him show some versatility and succeed. His Atonement was one of my favorite films of 2007 and was cheated out of more than one Oscar if you ask me. I'm also glad you brought up the Dunkirk long cut scene from it because it was one of the greatest cinematic moments of the last decade. Looking forward to seeing this.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:02PM on 04/05/2011

Good Review

I'll definitely be checking this out, Chemical Brothers are the balls.

I'm was thinking it may be bothersome that it's only rated PG-13? But 9/10? Best movies list? I guess it wasn't a problem!
I'll definitely be checking this out, Chemical Brothers are the balls.

I'm was thinking it may be bothersome that it's only rated PG-13? But 9/10? Best movies list? I guess it wasn't a problem!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:03PM on 04/05/2011
I'm kinda amazed this got a PG-13, as it really deserved to be R (at least in a world where WIN-WIN gets an R).
I'm kinda amazed this got a PG-13, as it really deserved to be R (at least in a world where WIN-WIN gets an R).
12:40PM on 04/05/2011

Excellent!

Looking forward to yet another weekend full of great movies!
Looking forward to yet another weekend full of great movies!
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:18PM on 04/05/2011
It's strange, when I first saw the trailer I was thinking "this could be all sorts of awesome" and since then I haven't heard anything from it. Poor marketing job I say. This review made me wanna watch it right now.
It's strange, when I first saw the trailer I was thinking "this could be all sorts of awesome" and since then I haven't heard anything from it. Poor marketing job I say. This review made me wanna watch it right now.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-38
11:33AM on 04/05/2011
I prefer my teenage girl assassins to be over the top and funny, as I cannot possibly take them seriously.

Female empowerment through violence! Oh Joe Wright, you're so progressive.
I prefer my teenage girl assassins to be over the top and funny, as I cannot possibly take them seriously.

Female empowerment through violence! Oh Joe Wright, you're so progressive.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
6:04PM on 04/05/2011
See it my friend. Your concerns are warranted, but the film does a great job explaining the situation.
See it my friend. Your concerns are warranted, but the film does a great job explaining the situation.
11:45PM on 04/05/2011
And that's why you would be one of their first victims. The youngest, most unassuming people (even young girls) make the best killers.
And that's why you would be one of their first victims. The youngest, most unassuming people (even young girls) make the best killers.
11:21AM on 04/05/2011
I agree C.K. Besides this site, I haven't heard jack abut this film. Haven't even seen a commercial or even HEARD about it.

Unless enough people see it for word of mouth, it'll tank....that seems sad to me.
I agree C.K. Besides this site, I haven't heard jack abut this film. Haven't even seen a commercial or even HEARD about it.

Unless enough people see it for word of mouth, it'll tank....that seems sad to me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:40AM on 04/05/2011

Is it just me

or is the marketing for this movie instantly forgetable? I mean I dismissed it immediately, before I learned that Joe Wright directed and that the reviews were outstanding. It seems to run the risk of being ignored. Again, though, it might just be me.
or is the marketing for this movie instantly forgetable? I mean I dismissed it immediately, before I learned that Joe Wright directed and that the reviews were outstanding. It seems to run the risk of being ignored. Again, though, it might just be me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+1
10:31AM on 04/05/2011
The soundtrack by Chemical Brothers sounds as well used as Massive Attacks soundtrack for Danny the Dog.
The soundtrack by Chemical Brothers sounds as well used as Massive Attacks soundtrack for Danny the Dog.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:13AM on 04/05/2011
Hope it' really that great, but I'd see this just because of how hot Cate looks in the trailer.
Hope it' really that great, but I'd see this just because of how hot Cate looks in the trailer.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+2
9:59AM on 04/05/2011
Sounds interesting! I might check it out now
Sounds interesting! I might check it out now
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+2
9:53AM on 04/05/2011
Wright's a great director, can't wait to see this. Ronan is easily my favorite young actress, nice to see her showing some range like this.
Wright's a great director, can't wait to see this. Ronan is easily my favorite young actress, nice to see her showing some range like this.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+12
9:05AM on 04/05/2011
A few reviews for this have been popping up and they all read like this.

This is going to be a good weekend at the movies.
A few reviews for this have been popping up and they all read like this.

This is going to be a good weekend at the movies.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+11
8:54AM on 04/05/2011
Cheers for the review Chris, I was on the fence on this one but you have now pushed me over :) Will be watching this for sure now.
Cheers for the review Chris, I was on the fence on this one but you have now pushed me over :) Will be watching this for sure now.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
8:49AM on 04/05/2011
Great review. I'm seeing this as soon as I get off work on Friday.
Great review. I'm seeing this as soon as I get off work on Friday.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
-35
7:46AM on 04/05/2011

Almost sold...

Although I do find hyperbole in early film reviews to be kinda of alarming - and I do have my doubts about 'Hanna' - the execution of it - down to the Chemical Bros. score, font title, art house/action blend - seems contrived. As for Eric Banna- well - he hasn't had a chance 'cause he's average as hell and you know it! Atonement still rocks though.
Although I do find hyperbole in early film reviews to be kinda of alarming - and I do have my doubts about 'Hanna' - the execution of it - down to the Chemical Bros. score, font title, art house/action blend - seems contrived. As for Eric Banna- well - he hasn't had a chance 'cause he's average as hell and you know it! Atonement still rocks though.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!