Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Baffling but Rollicking "Hanna"

Definitely there are some spoilers ahead, so proceed with caution unless you don't care or have already seen the movie.

It was definitely the mysterious trailer that drew me into watching "Hanna" this weekend. Though I was tempted to see "Jane Eyre" again, I convinced myself that the DVD/BluRay would come out soon enough. And besides, there are so many other movies to check out!

I can't believe that the lead actress, Saoirse Ronan, is the same person who played Briony Tallis in "Atonement"! And it makes me wonder if that's why Joe Wright cast her, having remembered how fierce and unforgettable an impression she made in that movie. She did not disappoint in this movie. If anything, she is even more unforgettable now - it was such a physical role but she added a much needed emotional weight. I couldn't help but think of Milla Jovovich in "The Fifth Element" as an antithesis of what Saoirse did - Milla's role was very physical but I didn't feel any emotional connection to her character (and that of course may be as much to do with the direction as well as the writing of that character). As for Saoirse's Hanna, here was a character that we know very little about and at the end don't learn much more...but yet I felt a strong emotional connection to her character because we see her journey play out across her face.

I thought that the movie did a great job of establishing Hanna's relationship with Erik Heller (Eric Bana) - theirs is a twisted yet tender father-daughter relationship. I couldn't help but wonder why he was depriving this girl of a real childhood but then it all becomes clear later on when we find out more details about Hanna's origins. And when we find out along with Hanna these details, we understandably question his motives.

I thought that Cate Blanchett's character seemed a little over the top...and her portrayal here of a CIA operative only served to remind me more about how Anna Torv in "Fringe" reminds me of Cate Blanchett in looks. There were also some weird contradictions to the actions and decisions that her Marissa Viegler makes. Here is someone who is so systematic and meticulous and paranoid - to the point that she cleans her teeth so thoroughly as to draw blood! And yet she trusts the tracking down of Hanna to a German nightclub owner - who looked so familar to me but I couldn't believe it was the same actor who played Mr. Collins in the 2005 Pride & Prejudice and sure enough, it really was Tom Hollander! But his tailing of the British family and chase around and over the containers was so ridiculous, I couldn't help but wonder what his previous qualifications were. He and his crew didn't have a prayer against Hanna's abilities.

What is pretty amazing about this movie is how I was convinced that someone of Hanna's size and age could not only assassinate the Marissa plant and take out the guards who came in afterwards, but also pretty much take on practically the whole compound and successfully escape. But then we see Erik Heller take out 5-6 guys who were ridiculously bad at tailing him.

There were plenty of echoes of scenes throughout the movie - but the one that was the most obvious and the one I saw coming a mile away was the last scene. Hanna has just shot Marissa with an arrow and we don't see where, but I guessed that perhaps the movie would end just as it began - with Hanna confronting a dying animal crouched on the ground as she then says "I just missed your heart" before dealing it a final blow. And when that deer appeared in the tunnel, I knew that this is what would happen.

While I could understand the desire for the movie to come full circle like this, it definitely took me out of the movie, knowing that this scene would end the way it did. We don't find out any more about why Marissa has become or is the way she is...we know that she is after Heller and Hanna because they want her dead (as the plant Marissa's death clearly stated). And Hanna doesn't find out much more about her...or for that matter, the other children! But these loose ends were not at all sufficient to justify a sequel.

Anyway, this review so far seems to suggest that I did not enjoy the movie, and that's not true. I really enjoyed the action sequences and having read an interview with Eric Bana about how some of them were filmed in one take, I was looking forward to seeing how they would go. The soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers was also awesome and reminded me of "Run Lola Run" - I think that the "Hanna" soundtrack will soon join my running playlist. The actors were great, and it was a treat to see Eric Bana shirtless in more than one scene. Saoirse in particular is one to watch, and already she looks so different now as she does the press junket for the movie, than she did in the movie - she's growing up fast! Too bad she's probably too ethereal-looking to play Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games" - she would be perfect for the role! But maybe she could play one of the other District champions in the second or third movie.

No comments:

Post a Comment