The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Hanna

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3_Chicks_Small Judy Thorburn

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The opening scene of the movie is set in a cold, snow covered forest where a young girl armed with a keen eye and a bow and arrow is stalking an elk. She aims at her target. The arrow is sent flying and hits the animal on its side, causing it to gallup off before falling to the ground in wounded agony. The girl then approaches the elk and pulls out a gun, shooting it in the head to end its suffering.

Thus begins the story of Hannah, the hunter who becomes the hunted.

Hannah, directed by Joe Wright, showcases a mesmerizing performance by Saoirse Ronan (who has achieved recognition for her work in The Lovely Bones and Atonement, also directed by Wright). But, the story is filled with loose ends, plot holes and a lot going on that makes no sense. What is clear early on, is that Hannah has been raised by her father Erik (Eric Bana) in an isolated forest cabin somewhere near the Arctic Circle. Everything she learned was from her father, books and her immediate surroundings. Most importantly, her father has trained her to be a cold and calculating assassin. Why? Because Marisa, a scheming CIA operative (Cate Blanchett) has been after her for years (the reason will be revealed later) and Hannah needs the tools to protect herself and destroy the enemy before they kill her.

The first question that pops up is why would Hannah press a button on a box that she knows will alert Marisa to her location. The set up isn't plausible. The last time Marisa saw Hannah, was when she was a baby. Marisa had no idea what Hannah looked like as a 15 year old, so why did she make herself a target. If Hannah's mission was to kill Marisa, you would think she would be able to get the job done without anyone alerted or on her trail.

Secondly, why would daddy take off leaving Hannah alone to fight off Marisa's henchman? Before making his way out the door, Erik tells Hannah to meet up with him in Berlin. For a girl who has no knowledge of the outside world, how is she supposed to know her way around unknown territory throughout Morocco, Spain and Germany and find him? These are but a few things that don't add up in this flawed plot, not that there is much of a plot.

Nevertheless, with its strange mix of sci fi and fairy tale elements Hannah comes across as both a coming of age story and cat and mouse tale. As a blossoming young woman making her way around a strange new world she has never experienced, Hannah gets to experience new and mysterious things such as music, electricity, joining up with a young British girl (Jessica Barden) and brother and their bohemian parents (Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng), and upon hooking up briefly with a handsome young fellow enjoys her first kiss, while on the run from Marisa, with whom she has a unique connection. We soon discover Hannah was the product of an experimental genetic program led by Marisa to create special babies that would grow to be perfect, strong soldiers with a reduced capacity for fear.

If you dismiss the many flaws in the script and suspend believability, Hannah does work as a suspenseful thriller in which tense chases, lots and lots of running, and awesome hand to hand combat scenes come into play. Cate Blanchett, although employing an inconsistent southern drawl, hams it up as the cold and ruthless CIA villainess, and as Hannah's father/CIA rogue, hunky Eric Bana who is always convincing, doesn't get nearly enough screen time.

Frankly, there is really only one overwhelming reason to see Hannah, and that is Saoirse Ronan (who, in this film, bares a strong resemblance to a young Anne Heche).  She is magnificant as the young killing machine whose journey leads to self discovery in more ways than one.