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Hanna

Hanna

What She said:

She

It’s hard to imagine there is a 16 year old assassin walking this earth, but that’s exactly what Hanna is.  She’s a crazy talented killer, who just wants a normal life, but is burdened by the fact that she can never have one.  You see, Hanna’s father, Erik (Eric Bana), used to work for the CIA, and for some reason he’s been in hiding since Hanna was just a baby.  Her life is also in peril, as it seems the U.S. government will stop at nothing to make sure that she is dead. 

But teenagers will be teenagers, and Hanna wants to go to the mall, get her nails painted…you know, the normal chick stuff.  So, they voluntarily re-enter society and that’s when the crap hits the fan.  What follows is a nearly two hour ecstasy fueled action thriller that will make you feel a little psychotic.  The unrealistic and disappointingly basic storyline is bolstered by very strong performances by all our actors, most notably Saoirse Ronan as Hanna and Tom Hollander as the slimy hitman Isaacs.  Cate Blanchett is ok, playing Marissa, who is sort of the mastermind of the whole CIA operation.  Her accent is a little overdone though.

Director, Joe Wright, infuses the film with an out-of-this world intensity that is part spy film, part techno rave.  He should be credited with using unique camera shots and colorful lighting to achieve this effect.  This is capped off by a soundtrack created by the Chemical Brothers, and boy does it feel it.  Rhythmic thumping drives on-screen sequences, as our characters run around like madmen and women.  I think you get it, the film is very stylized, perhaps over-stylized, but I credit Wright for the development of his directorial skill.  He also directed a couple of my favorites, Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, and as you watch his movies you can see him evolve with his movies becoming more sensory.  Kudos for the effort, although I feel the style is best achieved with Atonement.

Anyway, Hanna can be a bit much to handle, but it’s also a pretty fun ride at times.  I wish the plot and characters (other than Hanna) would have had a little more depth.  But this is good enough for a Friday or Saturday night viewing.

Thumbs  mostly up. 

What he said:

He

Hanna is a young woman with some very special talents. She is very intelligent, can speak several languages, and can kill you with her bare hands. Her father (played by Eric Bana) raised her to be this way from a remote cabin in the Antarctic.

That is really all you need to know.

It is a very basic premise, but the trailer seemed very well done to me. It was gritty, stylistic, and had that x-factor that kind of intrigued me. There were elements of it that reminded me of some other movies I enjoy. It seemed like a nice mix of Leon, The Bourne Identity, and Trainspotting.  

Unfortunately it ended up being all style and little substance. And to be honest with you, I didn’t even like the stylistic elements I was seeing. Hanna was little more than a series of almost non-stop (and annoying) music montages and camera shots intended to come off as artsy. I felt like the director had recently taken a film class and learned some new techniques he wanted to try out. The only problem was that he kind of beat you over the head with them and the result is this feeling of a bad trip.

I felt like I was at a club and just started to get that “woh” feeling and came to the realization I had just been slipped a mickey. It wasn’t a very enjoyable experience.

The one part of the movie that I felt was done very well was the performance of Tom Hollander, who I found downright disturbing. The character was simply a very disgusting human being and Hollander portrayed that very well.

Ok, that's not completely accurate. Saoirse Ronan was ok as the main character. She was a stone cold killer, but also had the curiosity of someone completely new to our way of life. I just didn't really care all that much. I had no real emotional attachment to character or the story.

Rating: Thumbs down.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on September 13, 2011.