Despite everything that lead up to the moment of me watching Hanna, the urge to dislike it for reasons discussed later on and me putting it off for so long, I ended up liking it close to a feeling of love. What happened with my presumptions and intolerance for that type of violence was a surprise but what ended up being a bigger surprise was the beauty behind the cinematography and music Hanna holds in between its action filled scenes.
Hanna is a story about a 16 year old who has been trained her whole life for one thing in particular, to kill a woman that took her mother’s life. There is one thing that makes me a little hesitant in this matter and it is the fact that the movie has a child like 16 year old killing people. I think it is a moral issue of mine, seeing kids killing people isn’t something I consider as ethical nor entertaining (main reason I found Kick-Ass to be overrated). But Hanna seemed to have a different kind of take on it all with its beauty and innocence in moments such as the date scene where they were listening to the music. The movie was crafted to an art piece that took violence and gave it a scenery which took away the roughness of it – such as the beginning of the movie, where Hanna hunts a deer, is balanced out by the element of snow and its sound when she runs. I found it interesting and it took me by surprise that it all ended up to be such a visually stunning movie.
Saorise Ronan deserves a lot of credit for her leading role as Hanna, she looked the part, although it kind of disturbed me that she actually looked much younger than 16, and she acted the part as well! She is a force to be reckoned with for sure and I think her wisdom and the way she managed to have an adult like moments, while also being a teenager, probably shadowed my own personal opinions. What she managed to do and what Kick-Ass failed, was to have a certain conflict in the character itself, the way she hold on to the innocence while being so brutal. Other main roles include Eric Bana as Hanna’s father and Cate Blanchett as the villain or in other words, Hanna’s number one target.
Another thing I mentioned that made the movie experience worth every minute of it, was the soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers. Not that I’d be blasting this music in my iTunes, I’m not much of a music person, but I really think it served the movie right. That type of electric sound suited the theme of the movie, while it mostly became just a part of it all but at some moments emphasized the action in a pleasing way (the escape scene). What I respect as a contrast to the soundtrack, was the fact that the movie wasn’t afraid to use silence as an element – opening scene in particular left a great first impression just because of its pureness.
Joe Wright, the director of many other movies I’ve enjoyed including Anna Karenina which I am waiting for impatiently, was probably the biggest surprise. Since his resume includes Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, it was difficult to predict something from his first action movie but everything now makes complete sense. Getting all the mentioned facts together, it all ends up in a logical place when Joe Wright becomes the key element of Hanna. It is his style of imagery and love for small but meaningful details that make his movies work and that is why Hanna had such an impact on me. It wasn’t made to wow with action but it was meant to be a visually beautiful film of a rather ugly topic which I didn’t end up liking at all.
That brings me back to the main topic of the plot, the fact that a teenager is doing all the killing and does it with no emotion nor regret. Of course it all was explained by the end of the movie, in a very smart way I must say, and it kind of made sense from the perspective of the story, I still didn’t like it. I find it morally wrong when a child or a teenager is a killer (a hitman even) like I stated before but that is more or less the matter of the script and not the movie making. Because from all I could remember of things I saw and heard, the movie was made in a way I did not see coming and that is why, despite my thoughts on the matter of the plot, I liked the movie a lot.
Images from Rotten Tomatoes.
PS: I did some reading about the background of the movie and found out facts that I thought were worth to be mentioned. One of those facts is something that makes Joe Wright look even better in my eyes because during filming he gave the location department permission to go off the script when finding places where to shoot which resulted in many changes in the screenplay. Another fact is that the locations included North Finland which pretty much is like next door to me and that kind of made me smile.
There’s a really cool style to this flick that made the action so much more intense, but the story just plain and simply sucked any life this film had and it’s a disappointment. Also, real stupid ending. Good review.
Somehow your comment ended up in the spam, weird. Anyway, yes, story was not the best but the way it was created was appealing. Thanks for stopping by!
Agreed. Entertaining action thriller. The fantasy elements, allusion and themes remind me of “Sucker Punch”. Loved the cinematography and soundtrack.
Will be interesting to see what becomes of the writer’s other screen plays in the coming years. He’s from here in Vancouver and I was really excited to see a big Hollywood blockbuster that came from a nobody. I read somewhere that the script wasn’t even finished when it got picked up.
Nice! The idea is what sold it I guess, though I wouldn’t have loved it as much if it hadn’t been done in such an elegant way. I don’t really appreciate kids killing people, for instance in Kick Ass, but Hanna was different. Good for the script writer!
Great point. The ‘visual style’ and undertones of the film on screen definitely made it. The screenplay was written as a “dark chase film”.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the Hanna’s journey from inception to screen http://www.vfs.com/microsites/2011/hanna/?utm_campaign=hanna&utm_medium=print&utm_source=unknown&utm_content=-wr-/
Great review MR. This was one of my favorite mainstream films from last year. I love Wrights visual mastery, that soundtrack is amazing, and Saoirse is such a firecracker.
This was my biggest surprise of 2011 – I regret not watching it sooner!