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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film was derivative of many other films including (Soldier,
Resident Evil), with little new in the way of plot. The immoral CIA
creates a program in which they are attempting to genetically create
the perfect soldier by fooling with the DNA of embryos. When the
experiment proves successful (huh..? Why shut down a successful
program..?) it is decided for unknown reasons to end the project and
terminate all those involved. Eric Bana, the CIA field agent who
recruited the women for the experiment has a change of heart and tries
to save one woman and her child. For no particular reason, except to
give Hanna a reason to want revenge later on, the mother is killed by
Kate Blanchett, and Eric Bana escapes with the infant. Bana raises
Hanna as his own in an "arctic" cabin without electricity or modern
conveniences, in order to prepare her for the day that she has to face
the CIA and their henchmen. The day finally arrives when Hanna decides
that she is ready. Bana digs up a transponder he had buried and places
it in front of Hanna quipping that once the switch is flipped it can't
be undone. Since there is no electricity in the cabin, and in fact
Hanna has never seen an electric light, the method by which Bana got a
battery to operate after over 14 years is never explained. Bana leaves
Hanna alone to be captured by the dastardly CIA operatives. He did this
apparently in order for Hanna to kill Kate Blanchett. Why he doesn't
take Hanna with him, instead of leaving her to be taken by the CIA is
left unexplained. Hanna is brought to an underground holding cell, the
size of the Superbowl, in Morocco.
Strangely, Morocco looks a lot like the desert southwest of the US. Naturally, Hanna is more than a handful for the loutish CIA operatives and manages to escape through the ubiquitous air-conditioning vents which just happen to be her size. She makes her way to the surface, and just as she is looking out of a vast desert vista in broad daylight, Hummvees start driving directly over her head, apparently oblivious to the fact that there is an open submarine door in their path. As the last Hummvee passes the hole is shown as empty clearly showing that Hanna has managed to take hold of the undercarriage of the last vehicle as it passed at 50 mph, where she hangs on similar to Robert De Niro as Max Cady in the 1991 film "Cape Fear". Too bad nobody told the director about this same treatment by the "Simpsons" with Sideshow Bob. I'm sure I'm not the only one surprised by the location of Morocco for this CIA detention cell, instead of somewhere in the US. It becomes obvious later on when Hanna has the opportunity to show off her dexterity with languages, which wouldn't have come up in the US quite so easily. Also, since it was decided by the Director to have the final fight scene in an amusement park in Germany, the CIA detention center had to be someplace from which Hanna could conceivably get to Germany, without a passport or any ID.
At one point in the film Eric Bana picks up a post card at a post office, apparently where they've been holding his mail for the past 14 years, and there's a postcard from Hanna telling him in code she has killed Kate Blanchett, which is unfortunately incorrect. How she bought the stamp, mailed the postcard, or knew which post office Bana would be near is unexplained. The fact that all of this action takes place in a matter of a few days, makes the idea that a post card can get from Morocco or Spain to Germany in that amount of time laughable to anyone who has lived overseas.
There are several editing or continuity errors, like when Hanna kills the reindeer with a bow and arrow, but then guts a reindeer of approximately half the size, and then brings the originally sized reindeer home on a sleigh, apparently having made the sleigh from the raw materials by hand.
The choice of where and when to use blood spatter effects is also interesting. Hanna gets her face splashed when shooting people, and the picture in front of grandma gets covered when Kate Blanchett kills her (again for no reason), but the reindeer is remarkably without blood, even though Hanna is in the process of gutting it.
If you can willingly suspend your disbelief for this film, then you really have no disbelief to suspend.
The story is derivative, the characters are two dimensional and without motivation, the lines are full of clichés, and the violence is unrealistic. Eric Bana is supposed to be the Zen like trainer of Hanna, but he can't seem to handle a Aryan Brotherhood with a knife. I suppose 12 year old girls will like the scene where Hanna flips a Spanish boy who tries to kiss her, but her reactions were closer to that of someone suffering from anti-social personality disorder than of a normal teenager.
The fact that Hanna kills people for little or no reason would seem to suggest that she is in fact meant to be characterized as a serial killer, except that she announces to Eric Bana that she doesn't want to hurt anyone anymore, when all she really needs to do is to stop hurting people.
I found it disconcerting that Eric Bana had spent 14 or so years training Hanna to kill everything that moves, when the CIA was unaware of his or her actual existence. He could just as easily have changed his name and raised Hanna on a ranch in Idaho or a tenement in the South Bronx, but then there wouldn't have been as much of a story, as such.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Contains spoilers: This film, Hanna, was god-awful. I was angry when I left the theatre after ruining my afternoon watching a film with such a stupid, faulty plot. There are just too many mistakes and holes. Hanna is a 16 year old ANOREXIC-LOOKING supposed genetic super human. Right away you know the casting is all wrong. She looks so weak. Sometimes she kills commandos immediately, and then other times she fights with skin-head caricatures for hours it seems. Silly stuff. To view this film's comments, use the "hated it" filter. I think the film's cast and backers shamelessly used IMDb.com for their selfish, untrue, and dishonest promotion of the film. No one with half a brain would recommend this film. There are plot holes which should anger you. Also, we are never told why she has to die or why the skinny little girl is a threat to US security. Why does she look longingly, lesbian-like into her new friend's eyes as they are lying in bed together? What happens to that girl and her family? We are not told. What did her foster-father ever do to deserve such treatment from her at the end? He then sacrifices his life for her! She has knowledge of everything in the world, but acts like one of the Beverly Hillbillies when it comes to turning on a light or using electric appliances, but then she just walks into a computer/coffee café and goes online. This is one of the dumbest films of all time. I was just so angry to have wasted my time and money on this film that was rated so highly on IMDb. Why does this film deserve a 7.7 rating? 7.7 Oh, please. Something is really, really wrong with the ratings system if this can happen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spoilers: See first! First off, what's with these so called expert
killers Kate brings into the mix to get the girl? There fat, out of
shape and more like clockwork orange hoodlums, that couldn't win a bar
fight let alone beat a superior, fighting hybrid! If all the hybrids
(for a lack of a better word) had to be 'terminated' and Hanna was the
last left, think about this..., here's Kate keeping up with her, in
heels! chasing her and Hanna was not able to put distance between them?
The point is: If that's all the hybrid can do, WHY does the U.S. have
to see her dead? (Obviously, she's not all that bloody superior if that
old, British broad is out thinking her! And how do the clockwork orange
goons ever find her in Morrocco? Was that the ONLY seedy, little joint
in the whole country that the lugs somehow knew that's the one she'd be
at? Give me a break.
Why doesn't it reveal whether the British couple and their kids were killed or not? Anyone who can jump onto an undercarriage of a Humvee while traveling over them at speed is frankly, CARTOON! And WHY does Eric, after waiting 13-years in hiding near the Arctic Circle, with a beard and long hair, suddenly cut his hair/have to look...EXACTLY like his file photos, to be instantly recognizable when he leaves the forest? Senseless. And oh BTW, he leaves in suit in sub zero temps. Hello~
What in the world were Kate's gums bleeding for? It has nothing to do with the plot at all! When Eric fights the 3 guys in the vacant space, when the thugs after incredible hesitations, finally do decide to fire their weapon, Eric had time to through one of them into the line of fire and throwing a knife to kill the gunmen. To coin a classic line from Eli Wallach about clowns just like these losers..., "If you're going to shoot...SHOOT. Don't talk!" Great acting by Hanna, for sure!
A 'different' movie. Bad storyline coupled with great direction /
camera / sound. Technically brilliant. The net result is quite
enjoyable. One does have to suspend disbelief to take in the gaps in
logic, but once you do that, it's a good ride.
The entire movie is in effect a large chase, and the direction has brought about this element superbly. The camera work and sound kept me glued.
There seems to be quite a few reviews that talk of all the gaps in logic and reasoning in the movie. They are all true, but I found the high levels of technical brilliance more than made up for it.
In the end, not a 'great' movie, but one that I nevertheless quite enjoyed.
Hanna felt like The Little Engine That Could right from the start. When
the trailer first started being shown in theaters, it looked to have
potential while featuring a solid cast. But it felt like a smaller film
that would leave a big impact once you finally got around to seeing it.
There were a few things working against the film. I'm fairly certain
that the only film of Joe Wright's that I've actually had the
opportunity to sit down and watch is The Soloist. Despite being
enjoyable, its weak online reputation along with movie critics less
than stellar ratings and reviews imply that the film missed its mark.
Speaking of missing its mark, Saoirse Ronan was also in Peter Jackson's
The Lovely Bones which couldn't really decide what type of film to be
and was more than a little disappointing overall. Luckily, Hanna
doesn't suffer that same fate and we're actually given a film that is
much stronger than it lets on.
Hanna really utilizes the two senses you use most while watching a movie to their maximum potential. The beautiful cinematography is done in a way that let's you see things in a completely different light. There's a fairly wide contrast in scenery in the film; everything from the wooded forest to the dry, desolate desert to big cities to playgrounds and parks. Whether it's a cabin being covered by snow out in the middle of a Finnish forest, an expanding look at the rocky and seemingly endless desert floor, or just admiring the several sunsets utilized throughout the film to bridge one scene to the next, the camera work in Hanna is something that should definitely catch your eye.
While we're on the subject of camera work, there are quite a few intriguing perspective techniques used in Hanna as well. Some of the most noteworthy scenes in the film are one-take or long-take sequences meaning no cutaways or chances to do it again without starting from the beginning. The best example is a scene involving Erik (Eric Bana) where he gets off a bus and is being tailed by four agents sent by Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett). The way that scene is filmed along with its climax is just spectacular. That same technique is used several times throughout the film and seems to make something simple like a chase through a junkyard way more entertaining than if it was filmed differently. Another interesting shot is when Erik finds Marissa in her hotel room. A battle of bullets breaks out as we look through one of the bullet holes to see Erik kicking the door in. Good stuff right there, boys and girls. Good stuff indeed.
The other sense that's capitalized upon is what the film allows you to hear. Hanna features an original score by The Chemical Brothers and it doesn't disappoint. I'm not exactly a big fan of house music, techno, trip hop, or any music genre of that nature, but there's something about this soundtrack that adds something a different genre or artist probably wouldn't have been able to capture if they had been fortunate enough to do this soundtrack instead. Those beats and that electronic sound may not sound like they should be a part of a film like this, but it's an essential part of the film that makes the chase scenes involving Hanna more suspenseful and it's practically impossible to imagine Tom Hollander's "sandman" scene without that creepy bell-heavy lullaby. Truth be told, the Hanna soundtrack is every bit as good as the TRON: Legacy soundtrack.
The action thriller has a fantastic way of coming full circle. The beginning and end come together in a way that feels similar, but is done in a satisfying way that makes the storyline feel complete. Hanna actually has a little bit of humor hidden in its depths, as well. Most of it involves Sophie (Jessica Barden) in some capacity. The "three bullets" scene is the first that comes to mind. The entire theater seemed to be in an uproar over that one.
The one thing that didn't seem to click with Hanna was the editing. It's like the editor became incredibly overzealous being in possession of a soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers and certain scenes seemed more complicated than necessary. Hanna's (Saoirse Ronan) escape from holding was the scene that brought this theory to light. Flashing lights and scenes of Hanna running episode down along with multiple shots of her face in one frame just made the entire scene feel like an epileptic's nightmare.
Hanna is a fantastically paced action thriller that features strong performances from a powerful cast and a storyline that's rounded out in the best of ways. Eric Bana nearly steals the show at times while you may want to kill Cate Blanchett at other times for her Texan accent alone, but Saoirse Ronan puts in a performance that may be the best of her career thus far. Top it off with a spectacular soundtrack from The Chemical Brothers, and Hanna becomes one of the first must-see films of the year that is both intelligent and features slap-the-taste-out-of-your-mouth action.
A friend got me tickets to an advance screening, telling me it was a
spy thriller with Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. I hadn't seen a trailer
and was expecting something along the lines of Mission Impossible. Was
I'm not great at doing reviews, but I feel I need to say something about this amazing movie! During it, I was very aware at how engrossed I was, hanging on every scene. It was visually stunning - some of the scenes or transitions between them were so beautiful. The title "HANNA" on the screen reminded me a lot of Kill Bill. In fact, I felt Saoirse Ronan's Hanna is a teenage version of The Bride from Kill Bill and Leeloo from The Fifth Element.
I've seen Cate Blanchett in a couple of movies, but was impressed by her portrayal of a ruthless agent. I hate to say that Eric Bana's character (Erik) was "almost" forgettable - in the end, the movie was really not about him. But he did show up once wet and without much clothing and that was just fine by me.
I am not a fan of violence (and Tarantino's bugs me a lot), but I was OK with the quantity and visibility of it in this movie. Fans of Kill Bill should enjoy Hanna.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What is Hanna? it certainly isn't what I thought it'd be. At all.
Chances are it isn't like anything you've seen before. Weird, wild and
beautiful, it's Jason Bourne by way of the Brothers Grimm, David Lynch
by way of Hans Christian Andersen, Luc Besson and Tom Tykwer by way of
huntsmen, evil witches and big, bad wolves. It doesn't hesitate, it
hurtles along. It doesn't flinch, it charges. It prowls and pounces,
haunts and disarms. It has a pulse, a heartbeat, a rhythm. It roars. It
cackles. It sings a lullaby. It hums. It whistles. And, really, you
should stop reading right there. The joy is in the discovery, as they
say, and Hanna is best served with as few expectations as possible.
Whether you ultimately find it baffling or bewitching is, frankly,
beside the point. It's well worth watching -- experiencing, rather --
and you'll be hard- pressed to deny the thrill of such a bizarre,
Once upon a time there was a very special girl named Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan). Since she was two-years-old, Hanna has lived in the secluded forests of Finland with her father, Erik (Eric Bana). There, she's learned to survive, hunt, fight... and kill. When she turns sixteen, her father decides she's ready to hear the truth and to be presented with a choice: continue living in seclusion or flip a switch on a dormant tracking device and alert a vindictive CIA chief, Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), to her whereabouts. It seems Marissa has been searching for Erik and Hanna since she failed to assassinate the pair fourteen years ago, and Hanna is all too anxious to meet the woman who murdered her mother and sent her father into hiding. The choice is simpler than Erik had hoped. Hanna flips the switch the moment he steps away from the cabin. And then? Then all hell breaks loose. Hanna, captured and taken to a CIA facility in Morocco, kills a woman she believes is Wiegler, steals intel about her true origins, escapes into the desert and hitches a ride with a family of tourists bound for Germany, where she plans to rendezvous with her father. But she'll have to stay one step ahead of Marissa in a strange, alien world of television, traffic and the internet, and dodge the CIA witch's fiends, led by the maniacal Isaacs (Tom Hollander).
Hanna leaps over vast genre chasms with the grace of the fully realized dark-fantasy, action- thriller hybrid it is. Director Joe Wright has created something so wholly in tune with his vision, so true to its own delirious delights and hard-hitting flights of fancy that it floats high above the Hollywood fray. It begins simply enough, explodes soon thereafter, and then slowly reveals its secrets and intentions with meticulous precision, descending into increasingly offbeat, grotesque territory only after enchanting viewers with its siren call. Wright pushes, sure. But he knows exactly how much to push his audience at any given moment. He challenges convention, but knows just how much pressure to apply. He demands a lot of those watching the film for the first time, but never more than they should be able to bear. (And Hanna is even better on repeat viewings.) His mad-hatter action opera doesn't overwhelm or overreach; it hypnotizes, mesmerizes and casts a spell with fierce fist fights, coming-of-age tenderness, cruel villains, audaciously long tracking shots (complete with brawls sans cutaways or cheap edits), dazzling photography, and organic electronica (from The Chemical Brothers, no less).
Ronan doesn't buckle beneath the weight of Hanna or Hanna, and approaches every scene with the same killer instinct her adolescent assassin approaches an assailant. Wright and Ronan seem acutely aware of how easily the film could plummet over the edge and adapt (or die) accordingly, creating a young protagonist both beyond her years and subject to childlike awe. (Hanna squeals with girlish excitement at the sight of a passing plane mere moments after gutting a deer and battling her father on a frozen lake.) Elsewhere, Blanchett gobbles down helpless scenes with toothy vehemence and devilish zeal (she's the Wicked Stepmother, the Foul Enchantress and the Evil Queen), Hollander licks his deranged chops and bears his fangs with sick pleasure, and Bana brandishes his best Bana -- the somber but soulful soldier -- and lends balance to an eccentric ensemble. The travelers Hanna joins -- a family played with flaky bohemian funk by Jason Flemyng, Olivia Williams and kinetic ball of energy Jessica Barden -- may be the straw that crack some filmfans' backs, but their presence is only jarring initially and only the first time through. Further viewings (and a bit of patience) illuminate their true purpose -- no wandering fairy tale princess would be complete without a band of quirky creatures and peculiar new friends, be they dwarfs, talking forest denizens or free- spirited European hippies -- and make them every bit as essential to Hanna as anything else. It's through her temporary surrogate family that she learns things her father neglected to teach her, for reasons that become painfully clear as the film nears its endgame.
But not everyone will be so forgiving. Hanna is a divisive genre-bender that will infuriate as many cinephiles as it entrances. Even if you and I typically see eye to eye, we may not this time around. Wright's fourth feature film defies expectation and explanation, and must be seen to be believed. It may not ensnare you, but it'll sink its claws in for two spellbinding hours. Hanna will probably make its way onto my Top Ten list this year, and it will undoubtedly find its way onto some of your lists as well, albeit as one of the Worst Films of 2011. You'll just have to brave its dark, demented forests to find out.
Hannah is a wholly unexpected, but entirely enjoyable film. However,
this is not the all out, balls to the wall action film the trailer
might suggest. There is a high art house value to the film, and it
takes it's time letting you get to know the characters, most notably
the titular character Hannah, as she explores the world for the first
time. What we have is the kind of action film that comes around every
once in a while that values it's characters, but also demonstrates some
great action pieces.
Hannah tells the story of the 16 year old girl who, after living her whole life in the woods, is set upon the world. At the same time, her release into the world sets in motion a man hunt by a CIA agent with her own agenda. I've read many comments comparing this to Kick Ass, and I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. While these two films share loose ingredients, they are wholly different films, with Hannah arguably the superior film.
Beautifully shot and fantastic all the way around, the film elevates itself to art by successfully balancing Bourne-style action and a beautiful coming of age story. Through the film, we see the world as Hannah sees it, with a sense of wonder and beauty, but also a sense of confusion. Sound is used to great effect to depict this as well, and I will be very disappointed if this film doesn't get nominated for every sound award next year. The cast and talent behind the film also help to elevate it above the standard pic. Particularly Joe Wright, who treads into different territory, but nonetheless proves that he is an extremely versatile director. Saoirse Ronan also excels as the lead here, playing up the hardened, but vulnerable character. It's not an easy role to fill the shoes of, with both a physical and emotional demand on the characters, but in Wright's hands, Saoirse nails it.
While the film does have moments of drag here and there, even these moments are filled with something visually or audibly interesting. If it's not the Chemical Brother's fantastic soundtrack or a unique shot here and there, it's the stylish editing and unique focus. I will say that this won't be for everyone. This is not a film that's constant action and it does have an independent quality to it. But for those that take the journey, you'll find a very rewarding film here that succeeds where many action films don't. I'll even go so far as to say that this is my favorite film of 2011 so far.
Having read some of the more negative reviews on this site, all I can
say is that they all seem to have the same complaint in common. Namely,
non-acceptance of certain plot contrivances.
So let me say straight off: if you are the sort of person who didn't like Inception because it made no sense, or the sort of person who didn't like The Matrix Trilogy because it made no sense, or indeed the sort of person who didn't like any of David Lynch's films because (ahem) NONE OF THEM MAKE ANY SENSE...in short, if you are an incurable pedant, you will not enjoy this film and you might as well stop reading this review. Seriously, stop reading, don't watch the film and go calculate Pi or something.
If, however, you have an appreciation for tightly-edited, emotionally engaging, aesthetically pleasing cinema with a brilliant soundtrack and at times breathless pacing, please allow me to take a few minutes of your time.
Hanna is the story of a teenage girl who lives in total isolation with her father. She has vague memories of her mother, and these memories, combined with her (literally) encyclopedic knowledge fuel her desire to leave the relative safety of her father's protection in the frozen hinterland of northern Finland.
In a way, I don't want to say any more than that. If you've read the other reviews on this site that give away more, then I'm very sorry for you, but if not then suffice it to say that her father's motivation for keeping her in this state of isolation appears to be protection, combined with a desire to train her in survival/assassination skills, in preparation for...well that would be telling.
Of course, you don't need me to tell you that she leaves her father's protection and the story proper begins. As Chekov said "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no-one is thinking of using it" and boy, does that rifle get used.
Saoirse Ronan is brilliant as Hanna. At times seemingly invincible, at others pathetically vulnerable, owing to her complete inexperience of the world. We see the world from her unique perspective as she struggles to understand non-familiar interaction, the natural ease of recreation and even the basic electrical appliances that we all take for granted.
The story moves us from one location to the next, painting a rich tapestry of colour and culture, whilst simultaneously (and somewhat comically) contrasting Hanna's desperate need to traverse these territories with the bourgeoisie's seeming obsession with "experiencing" as many of them as possible.
The acting is solid throughout. The only truly great performance comes from Ronan, but Tom Hollander, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana all turn out good performances that serve the picture well.
However the true credit for this film has to be laid at the feet of Joe Wright. None of his previous films could possibly prepare you for Hanna. Wright's mastery of both a tight, intricate plot such as in Atonement, combined with his incredible skill in making this beautiful, thoughtful, action-packed coming of age story mark him out as a director of real class.
It is true that Hanna suffers from a few plot holes, but that plot is delivered in such an appealing, exciting and above-all entertaining film that anyone who isn't compiling continuity errors for some god-awful TV programme that relishes in the fact that THIS ISN'T REAL LIFE, IT'S ACTUALLY ONLY A FILM!! should have a blast letting this film take them along for the ride.
If you want reality, watch a documentary. If you want a very good fiction, watch Hanna.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie had me on the edge of my seat, wanting to leave. I came looking for a suspense filled action movie. I got a little girl making her first friend. I unfortunately realized it was not going to get better too late to switch theaters. The plot was simple and worked well. A little girl is genetically altered to be a super soldier for the CIA. An agent with a heart of gold helps her Mom to escape with her. The Mom is killed during the escape and the agent raises the girl as his own. He trains her to get revenge on the woman who killed her Mom. Sounds good right? Lots of fights. The girl uncovers the truth of her genetic origins then gets the vengeance due her. No. That is too satisfying. She has to make a friend and learn how to live in a modern age. Her Dad trains her to kill but she is surprised by a light switch? How can you send your daughter to kill in Morocco then meet you in Germany but never prepare her for the 21st century. Somewhere Sarah Conner is weeping.
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