Hanna is flashy, and entertaining, deftly directed, with a hell of a soundtrack. And you could argue that’s enough. Sure, the journey is usually more fun than the destination. But with Hanna, the ending was so mediocre I’m having a hard time remembering how bitchin’ the rest of it was.
It’s nice to see another solid film from Mr. Wright. The after-school-special fee of The Soloist, plus the bad reviews, couldn’t get me into the theatre, but Atonement was a really great film. Saoirse Ronan was, of course, the best part of the WWII film, and just so happens to be Hanna. She’s paired with Eric Bana as her father (who is also named Eric), and Cate Blanchett who drops her vowels to play CIA Agent Marisa Wiegler. For reasons that are not immediately apparent, Hanna and Eric are living close to the arctic circle in the middle of nowhere in Finland. In the disturbing scene that opens the film, Hanna shoots a deer with a bow and arrow and chases the wounded beast for what feels like a very long distance. Standing over the animal, she says coldly, “I just missed your heart.” She then pulls out a gun and kills it. This emotional detachment is somehow enhanced by how ghostly pale she is, almost albino. While Hanna seems detached, her father does not. He’s training her for something, teaching her all sorts of ways to defend herself. And while he’s hard on her, he’s haunted by emotions just below the surface.
The time comes when Eric can no longer keep Hanna living like they are, and he releases her into the world, a place she’s clearly never been. The few directives Eric gives her before they separate include to kill Marisa Wiegler, and meet back in Berlin. Hanna is picked up by the CIA quickly, as they’re on the hunt for her father who is a rogue asset. This is where most of the action takes place, and it’s pretty freaking awesome. She escapes, leaving a very long trail of dead bodies in her wake–she’s now in Morocco. It’s here the film looses a bit of tight pace. The clever editing and camera shots that Wright uses take a backseat to a more human story. Hanna befriends a British family traveling in a minibus. Her, the fighting machine learns to love. Or, at least make a brief friendship.
The rest of the plot is as predictable as this sort of movie almost always is. A cat and mouse game between those on the lam and those chasing them. More and more information is revealed until we finally get the whole picture. You won’t quite be able to guess how and why things are, but still… Regardless, Wright really shows a bit of dazzling direction in Hanna. There are some genuinely cool moments and some beautifully choreographed fight sequences. And had can anyone ignore the score by the Chemical Brothers. It far outshines the highly publicized Daft Punk soundtrack for Disney’s TRON. Call me greedy, but I wanted more than just these individual qualities, as awesome as they are. I was hoping there would be characters with some real depth. Instead, I got a very entertaining, if soulless, action flick.