Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Hanna tells the story of a very specific moment in the life of, well, Hanna. We’re not told exactly how old she is, but, for the sake of this discussion, let’s say she’s in her early teens. She’s at that moment in all our lives where we begin to question ourselves, our role in the world and what may be out there in the greater world. This is especially so when we happen to be the only child of a rogue CIA agent who has spent our entire life out in the woods with us training us to be a high level agent. In other words, what happens when a person lives a completely isolated life and suddenly finds him/herself in an existential dilemma? Meet Hanna. She has been trained her whole life to fight and to kill and has been completely shut off from the outside world. Now, she wants to know and to see, to hear music for the first time, to, maybe, find a little love. All that stuff. Problem is, if she exposes herself, she vicariously exposes her father. If she does that, the shit is gonna hit the fan.

Well, she does it anyway and he lets her. He understands she needs to see the outside world to find out it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Can they survive long enough for her to have her little rumspringa?

This movie is like Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret meets The Bourne Identity. It’s part coming of age tale (teenage girl’s self discovery) and part thriller action. The coming of age portions were so so. They seemed out of place with the tone of the rest of the movie and, oddly, weren’t dealved into enough. I almost felt like it shouldn’t have been 50-50, but more like 80-20. Joe Wright should have made up his mind and decided what sort of movie he wanted to make. A girl going out into urban Berlin after living so isolated for her whole life that the first site of an airplane causes her to scream in both terror and delight, would make for a fantastic film, but if that is broken up with tons of espionage and chase scenes, then it’s just not developed enough. Now, that said, having two, disparate but fantastic flicks broken up by each other doesn’t mean the whole is a bad flick. It just means it could have been better.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was interesting, stylish, and thrilling when it needs to be. I liked Wright’s Pride and Prejudice more, but, outside of it, this is his best. If you like movies like Bourne, then this is certainly a flick you should see. It’s action done well and proof that a little creativity is all it takes to bring the mainstream movie industry out of it’s terrible artistic slump. In other words, this movie is not rocket science, but it’s original and a solid story and, after all, it doesn’t take much more than that.


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