Monday, April 18, 2011

She Can Kill You With Her Little Finger

Hanna (2011)

What do you get when you make Jason Bourne 16 years old, and a girl? You get Hanna, but you lose a lot in that conversion process.

Hanna, well played by Saorise Ronan, is raised in isolation near the Arctic Circle by her father (Eric Bana). They live in a ramshackle fairy tale cabin. It seems that papa is a former CIA black ops agent, and he's passing all those survival and fighting skills to his daughter: Hanna is a pint-sized assassin.

But what's an assassin without a target? Enter dad's former boss Marissa Viegler (Cate Blanchett, with an extra large Texas drawl). However, the movie, written by Seth Lochhead and David Farr, is fairly muddy as to exactly why Marissa is doing what she's doing, which leaves an unsatisfying impression with viewers (none of use who watched the movie together could put a finger on what was Marissa's motivation).

Director Joe Wright handles the action scenes well enough, as we knew he could do the quieter moments in this story after directing Pride and Prejudice and Atonement. The major problem is the pacing.

The story resembles The Bourne Identity in that both follow super-assassin main characters who are unsure of their origins. Both stories take our heroes across several countries: Hanna starts in upper Finland, moves to Morocco and then to Germany. It's when she meets this traveling hippie family in Morocco that the movie nearly grinds to a halt. Hanna was raised in isolation in one location by her father and now she's introduced to other people, cultures and places. She also makes her first friend, winningly played as a hyper teen by Jessica Barden.

A lot of the culture clash material was interesting (Hanna discovers electricity, but also the constant noise of our modern society, even at night), but it went on far too long. It was almost as if they took two films, one an action flick and the other a coming of age drama, and edited them together. The story went from heavy action in the beginning to the culture clash to rather dull before remembering its action origins.

Hanna is certainly not a bad movie, but one that may play better on DVD when you can fast forward a bit through the dull parts.

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