Published on May 9th, 2011 | by Sue Murphy2
Movie Review: Hanna
With its trailer debuting just before Christmas 2010, Hanna became one of the most eagerly anticipated films of this year. Reuniting Joe Wright with Saoirse Ronan, a combination that worked to perfection in Atonement, Hanna also signed on arguably two of the finest actors working at the moment, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. Wright, off the back of poor responses to The Soloist, needed another hit and Hanna, for all intents and purposes, seemed to be just that.
Raised by her father Eric Heller (Bana), a former CIA undercover agent, Hanna (Ronan) has received years of training in the wilderness which has turned her into a deadly weapon. Following an upbringing devoid of emotion and human contact, she is sent on a mission to track down and kill CIA agent Marisa Wiegler (Blanchett). However, Wiegler realises the threat of both Hanna and her father and in an effort to contain the problem, hires some old friends to hunt them down. This results in a cat and mouse game played throughout Europe, during which Hanna learns more about herself than her father could ever have taught her.
Now, from what you just read, you could be entirely forgiven for thinking you were going to see some sort of action epic along the lines of Bourne with Hanna as a replacement for a new generation, but you will be disappointed. Hanna is unbelievably promising at the outset, the opening sequence could even be considered beautiful but after her initial escape (I am not giving anything away, you have seen it in the trailer) the film sidesteps out of action flick and into melodrama. What we witness is Hanna’s discovery of the world and of herself, and for what seems like an eternity, a normal family who pick her up on their travels. The action then suddenly takes a back seat to everything else and will inevitably leave you hungry for more when they do appear. Wright admitted Oldboy had a certain amount of influence on some of the fight sequences and this is entirely evident in Bana’s fight scene in the underground station, which is both simplistic and astounding with flawless camerawork.
Besides the lack of action, there are other aspects that will enrage audiences. The entire film has an art house feel and although 90% of the time that is not necessarily a bad thing, there are times during Hanna when you feel like you are watching an American take on Run Lola, Run. Perhaps what infuriated me more than anything else was the absolute underuse of one of the finest actresses of this generation. Cate Blanchett’s Wiegler is a completely two dimensional character, almost becoming The Wicked Witch (which is suggested more than once) and by the last scene you will be confused as to her motivation for anything she does. On top of all that, the soundtrack, although amazing in its own right, doesn’t work for the film. Like Sucker Punch, you can feel like you are watching a music video as opposed to a fight scene in a film.
A three star movie at best, Hanna had tonnes of potential but doesn’t live up to the hype. What I will say is that it is becoming an absolute pleasure to watch one of the greatest stars grow up in front of us on screen. Ronan is truly one of the greatest actresses working in the business at the moment.