This review was provided by guest contributor Dad.
Beware readers – I pick nits. Hanna was good, but not great. It is a fun movie if you enjoy dumb action movies. You’ll come out of it thinking you’ve done something cerebral. There are several points that had the crowd laughing; and few well-telegraphed scenes aside, it was relatively safe for my eight year old to come along and see it with the Lovely Wife and me. The Chemical Brothers provide an entertaining soundtrack. Go see it, have fun, and try not to think too hard. You’ll have a good time :)
From this point on, spoilers abound. Hanna is played by Saoirse Ronan. I liked her in The City of Ember. I loved her in The Lovely Bones. I didn’t recognize her in this film, which speaks well of her range as an actress. She was by turns charming, naïve, lethal, vulnerable, and pitiable in this film, and she’s officially won a fan. I hope to see better things from her. In this film, she plays the part of the singular coveted survivor of a genetic breeding program designed to produce (of course) super soldiers.
Her ‘father’ Erik is played by Eric Bana, who rescued Hanna as an infant from an apparently demented CIA agent Marissa. Hanna’s mother was killed during the attempt. Erik has hidden Hanna in the frozen wastes near the Artic circle, where he has trained her until the age of 16 to kill moose, speak any number of languages fluently, and defend herself against his relentless attempts to murder her. (It honestly reminded me of Cato relentlessly throwing himself at The Pink Panther, except in this film The Pink Panther is Jason Statham AND a sixteen year-old girl.)
At its essence, Erik and Hanna have hatched a sixteen year revenge plot against Marissa for killing Hanna’s mother. The movie revolves around Hanna and Erik playing their part in this revenge plot, until it’s conclusion. Marissa catches on early that they are after her, and immediately enlists the assistance of (I believe) Lewis, and his cadre of skin-heads. When we meet Lewis, he’s lounging at his bar brow-beating a hermaphrodite who isn’t dancing as well as Lewis would like, while midgets wander around. Creepy guy vibe, we get it.
Shenanigans ensue, as they always do in action movies. Without giving away everything, I’ll go over what I liked and what I didn’t. Hanna was superlative in most respects. She made a genetically engineered sixteen year old home-schooled girl seem almost believable. Her abilities never crossed the line from scientifically plausible into science fantasy, which helped make this movie work. The movie was a little slow for an action film, but it was funnier than I thought it would be. Hanna was charming.
What I didn’t like; this film is ruined by accents. From Eric Bana’s Baklavakistanian accent to Cate Blanchette’s truly horrible attempt at a southern drawl, affected accents pulled me out of the narrative and made me hate this movie just a little bit. If Erik can’t speak English for shit, why does Hanna have a cultured English accent? It’s not that Erik Bana can’t pull off proper enunciation of the English language, it’s just a plot hole. And Blanchette’s attempted accent was comical (although not as comical as the same obvious affectation delivered by her ‘double’ early in the film). Why was it necessary for Marissa to be an American Southerner, when the actress involved clearly wasn’t pulling it off? It was distracting, and didn’t add anything to the film.
Aside from that, my only question is “why”? Erik and Hanna were free, living well at the North Poll and had no real reason to instigate…well pretty much “the plot” of the entire movie. Why put your daughter at risk? Unless Erik was completely and irrationally hell-bent on revenge, the premise of this movie isn’t the smart move I’d expect from a savvy ex-government operative who was hiding from the government. There would have been any number of better ways to handle the situation involving, oh, espionage? Stalking? Again, this is a dumb action movie pretending to be smart.
To summarize, as long as you don’t think too hard about the plot, this movie is fun and you can have fun watching it. With the unexpected humor, the smart handling of the science fiction aspect, and killer sound track, it’s also worth catching at the theater.