HANNA, The Movie

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see the name “Hanna”, I think of the various variations that come with it: Hannah, the name of my childhood best friend, and Hana, the name of my coteacher back in Korea. Then it reminds me of “Anna”, my cousin’s name, but my mom occasionally adds an ‘h’ to the beginning, just for kicks. I’m sure it was unintentional, though.

In reality, though, this “Hanna” has no relation to the Hanna(h)s I’ve met in real life, because this one’s an awesome assassin in a European-American joint film production and is, therefore, only a temporary character. It seems pretty random, but it isn’t. While teaching elementary school kids in Korea, I amassed a good amount of films and other visually-stimulating files for them and myself. This one, however, I never intended to show any of my students. Anyway, I finally got to watch it last night when my Internet crashed and I only had my external hard drive to save me from insanity (I admit it: I’m addicted to my Internet).

Title: HANNA
Other Links: official site, imdb, wiki
Trailer: click here
Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): action, revenge thriller, smidge of mystery
Year: 2011
Starring: Saoirse Ronan (Irish; The Lovely Bones, Atonement), Eric Bana (Australian; Hulk, Troy, Star Trek [2009]), Cate Blanchett (Australian; The Lord of the Rings, The Aviator)
Synopsis: A 16-year-old who was raised by her father to be the perfect assassin is dispatched on a mission across Europe, tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent and her operatives.

Just a word of warning: in case you hate spoilers, there are some to be followed, but I tried to be vague.

There are usually several reasons that lure me into watching a movie. Those include cast members, plot, and how engrossed I get when I see the trailer. I never saw the trailer and though I did recognise the names of half of the cast members, I wasn’t too familiar with them – that left the plot. I have a soft spot for films that deal with violence, revenge, and assassins. Perhaps it originated from when I watched the Thai action film, Chocolate (2008), which had the most atrocious English subtitles but it was simply amazing. Either way, I started it and the opening scene was of a tightly bundled girl (though it isn’t all that obvious about the figure’s sex) hunting out within the tundra wilderness (I’m not a geologist or anything so don’t quote me on that). She eventually fires an arrow at the animal only to comment that she just missed the heart, and so she shoots it point-blank once more with a shot gun. She’s then ambushed by this mysterious man and she ultimately subdues him.

Honestly, the action scenes are pretty good throughout the film and I loved how we were taken from Finland to Morocco to Spain and onto Germany. I sort of missed the backdrop of the pure white snow, but the way she ‘takes care’ of people appears to be fairly believable, though for some moments, I swear that things didn’t look all that natural. I don’t mean that I want the actors and actresses in the action scenes to be injured because they do their own stunts with minimal protection (like in Chocolate), but there was just something that was missing. Or perhaps I was feeling rather bloodthirsty at being deprived of my Internet for a couple of hours. However, I loved how she used her smaller (younger) frame and agility to move about and the way she killed everyone in that interrogation room was rather nice.

A part of me was also intrigued at her character. She had been growing up isolated from the rest of the world so she only knew of music, but she never heard it before. I think it’s a bit sad that she has this vast knowledge, props to her father figure who reads from an encyclopedia to her regularly, but she never experienced it. She pretty much speaks like everything was memorised and is very much not “normal”, but I love how she encounters this British family on their own road trip and she gets a taste of The Other Side. I sort of wish I knew what happened to that family in the end, but at least she cared enough for them to warn the girl.

As for the other characters, her father figure was interesting, especially when we find out what happened to her parent(s) and then that mini plot twist where we find out the mystery behind her birth. That was sort of a surprise, but yet not. Even then, I kept on watch, if only to figure out what happened in the end. However, my impression of him was vague. He seemed to truly care about her, and yet he was the one that helped her to be… I’m neutral, as he was only in the film at the beginning and the end. As for Blanchett’s character, she portrayed her power well, through the way everyone else treated her, but it bothered me how she preferred to “fight” with her gun, keeping her hands “clean” with gloves and her appearance pristine. I suppose I do find that aspect of her entertaining.

In the end, I’m glad she died the way she did (as if the villain ever lives for long), akin to the moose at the beginning of the film, first downed with an arrow and then finished off with her own gun. Poetic justice, I say. I just wonder what was in line for Hanna after that. Perhaps she’ll find that British family again and attempt to blend in with the rest of society, though she did a good job. It’s all that downloaded knowledge and not because she was acting as if she didn’t know much about modern society, I say!

In the end, I think the movie wasn’t bad, for such a genre, with the daughter going off to kill the person behind her mother’s death. You get a taste of herself – but only a taste – so it’s not just mindless killing to get to the goal. The actors and actresses all brought their roles to life and I would say that none of the acting was bad. However, for some odd reason, it didn’t stick with me and was vaguely lackluster. On an end note, I do love the cinematography. I give it a 3.7 out of 5.

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