Hanna
Be very, very quiet. I’m huntin’ Cate Blanchett.


Theatrical Release Date: 04/08/2011
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Jessica Barden, Olivia Williams, Tom Hollander, Jason Flemyng
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language.
Runtime: 1 hour, 45 minutes


Trailer:

When the light hits right, you can see my eyebrows!

“Hanna” (opening April 8th nationwide) is one of those occasional films wherein I hadn’t seen a trailer, interview or really anything more than the poster prior to seeing the film itself. I prefer this because it’s nice to let a film surprise me and not to realize in the back of my head that there’s still a scene I’m waiting for or already know the punch line to half the jokes.

Of course, this method isn’t very practical outside the world of film critics, as most people have to choose financially between seeing a movie or putting one of their kids through college. With “Hanna”, the trailer gives away everything, which is sad because this is the kind of film that works best if all you know is that Saoirse Ronan is a teenage girl trained to kick a little ass and locked in a deadly game of hide and seek with Cate Blanchett. Throw in Eric Bana as Hanna’s father and Tom Hollander as a deliciously fun bad guy in a track suit and what’s not to like, right?

Funny you should ask …

Normally, director Joe Wright is especially good at conveying a host of emotions through the characters, as evidenced by his last three films: “Pride & Prejudice“, “Atonement“, and “The Soloist“. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of that last one, it still places the primary emphasis on character development and seeing that “Hanna” would bring back Ronan who broke through so spectacularly in “Atonement”, and add in Bana and Blanchett, I had my hopes up.

But the unfortunate fact is that this seems to be an experimental film for Wright. Tonally, it reminded me of both “The Bourne Identity” and “Run Lola Run” (hmm, maybe Ronan’s accent made me think of Franke Potente). This is essentially a chase film, as Hanna attempts to elude her pursuers and reunite with Bana. However, although there are one or two nice scenes of Hanna befriending another girl (Jessica Barden) on vacation with her parents, the majority of the time is more akin to watching a mindless machine follow a set of pre-programmed instructions. It makes most of the film feel very mechanical and soulless – the very opposite of what I expected from Wright considering his track record.

His attempts at action and hand-to-hand combat are also a bit of a mess, as Ronan’s fights are a collection of quick cuts making it hard to appreciate her prowess. Bana gets one decently thought out exchange of gunfire and one good fist fight but also one completely lackluster fight that contains WAY too much slo-motion.

The best elements of the film are in watching Ronan learn what’s it’s like to be a normal teenager, doing something other than being cold and calculated as Bana has taught her to be. Sadly, those moments are too few and far between. So although it’s made with talented people both in front of and behind the camera, the end result is somewhat hollow and “Hanna” receives a 2.5 out of 5.

2.5 out of 5