Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hanna [2011]

Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander
Genre: Thriller/Action
Rating: Teen
Comment: "This is not your usual cookie-cutter thriller..."

Sixteen-year-old Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan) grew up never seeing the world outside the wilderness she was raised in. Although taught about all there is to know about survival and combat skills by her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana), she yearns to actually go out into the world and experience all that she read about in the books, but not before she could avenge the death of her mother at the hands of a corrupt CIA agent, Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett).

What to Expect
1. Pretty much an art film
2. Odd mesh of Thriller and a Coming-of-age movie
3. Pretty visuals
4. Unusual pacing for a Thriller movie
5. Uber-cool soundtrack

What NOT to Expect
1. Jason Bourne or Evelyn Salt

Depending on how you approach this movie, you will either love it, or find it to be incredibly dull. The reason for that, I suppose is how the movie was marketed as an Action/Thriller and the trailer seemingly hinted it to be in similar vein to that of Salt [2010]. Nothing could be further from the truth because this is a very unique Thriller that probably wouldn't be as famous as the aforementioned Salt or the Jason Bourne movies, but in my mind Hanna is a lot better than those two combined.

For the most part I just love how it was not overproduced, how the characters were limited to just a handful of them, no men in suits coming and going in SUVs and no extended scenes of acrobatic gunfights. Hey, I enjoy those things as much as the next guy, but watching Hanna doing it all differently was such a pleasant surprise.

Plus, it also didn't follow that other convention of Action-thrillers where everything must move fast fast fast! As I have said earlier, this movie is an odd hybrid of Action-thriller and a Coming-of-age movie. So instead of giving us a one-dimensional killing machine, they give us the character Hanna played by the sweet-faced Saoirse Ronan. You see, as cold-blooded as Hanna was, she's still a naive girl who finds the outside world both fascinating and frightening. She... isn't much different from other teenagers.

How so? Well, you just have to go see it to find out now, wouldn't you?

I don't know if it was their intent all along. After all, virtually every film-maker fancies themselves as being artistic, perhaps even Michael Bay. But in the case of Hanna, I really get the feeling that this is an art film about people trying to kill each other. I'll give you one example, pay attention to the early scene where Hanna makes her escape from the CIA facility; It's like watching an action sequence filmed as a music video.

Which leads us to another strength of this movie; the soundtrack. I don't pretend to know much about film-making, but perhaps it doesn't take an expert to acknowledge how important a good, atmospheric film score is to pull off a movie like this. And what a fine job The Chemical Brothers did.

Should you go see it?
Depends. As I've said several times earlier, if you're looking for Jason Bourne or Evelyn Salt, you'll be very disappointed or find it to be sinfully dull. Watching it during Ramadhan might even make the experience even more intolerable. But personally I wouldn't mind seeing it again. I love how atmospheric, poetic and how fairytale-like it was. If you're looking for something different, give this one a go!

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