Currently, we’re in the throes of a Hollywood obsession to bring fairy tales to the big screen. It’s a fad that’s years away from peaking, leaving the sneaky triumph of “Hanna” all the more bewitching.
It’s not exactly “Snow White” or “Alice in Wonderland,” but a weird, swirling amalgamation of the Grimm Brothers’ catalog, sharpened to Ginsu standards by the Euro sensibilities of director Joe Wright. Think of a fantastical storybook odyssey crossed with “The Bourne Identity,” and you’ll have a slightly accurate read of the moviegoing pleasures of this surreal, neck-snapping revenge escapade…read more [DrarkHorizons]
Hanna” is a first-rate thriller about the drawbacks of home schooling. As it opens, a teenage girl is in the act of killing a deer with her bow and arrow, and then as she’s gutting the carcass, a man sneaks up behind and says, “You’re dead!” She engages in a fierce hand-to-hand battle with this man, who turns out to be her father. He has raised her as they lived alone deep in the forest in a house that looks like it was inspired by lots of gingerbread.
Gradually most, not all, of the details come clear. Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has been taught advanced and ruthless killing skills as a means of self-defense against her enemies, who are legion. Her father, Erik (Eric Bana), fears for her safety and his own. He is apparently an agent whose skills and knowledge are so formidable that a CIA officer named Marissa (Cate Blanchett) is obsessed with capturing him — and the child…read more [Roger Ebert]
When the first trailers for Joe Wright’s Hanna showed up online, a few film geeks blew off the film immediately. Some called it Hit Girl: The Movie, still others called it The Professional Redux, but the point was the same: did we really need another pre-teen, female assassin movie? Then, just over the past few weeks, something funny started to happen: the film started screening, and early word was that Wright had hit a homerun. Some people even went so far as to call Hanna the “best film of 2011 thus far”. We caught the film tonight at a special screening held by Ain’t It Cool News at the Alamo Drafthouse. So, what’d we think?..read more [Examiner]
Hanna is full of inventive and chilling action sequences, heartstring-tugging performances, and vivid Grimm iconography. Sometimes all this is too much for the narrative to handle, leading to an uneven tone that gives the film a stuttering flow. Despite this pacing issue, Hanna is ultimately exhilarating. Beyond creating a bit of action-fodder, Wright has crafted a thriller with a brain. Action fans will relish in the expertly executed fight scenes, while film nerds and women’s studies majors will dive in again and again to parse through the film’s lush imagery for meaning. Smart, pulse-pounding with an undeniable emotional core, Hanna is a full-fledged thriller with brains, heart, and balls…read more [The Film Stage]
After Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, it was quite clear that director Joe Wright was capable of great things, however, nothing can prepare you for the greatness that is his latest feature film, Hanna. It’s a visual and mental action adventure film packing enough energy and suspense to blow you right out of your seat and the best part about it is none of those effects are achieved using cinematic copouts, cheesy effects or any stale parlor trick. Hanna is powered by all-around genuinely thoughtful filmmaking and one heck of a performance from Saoirse Ronan resulting in a tense, funny, touching and, overall, wildly enjoyable experience.
Deep in the frigid forest of North Finland, Hanna (Ronan) lives with her father, Erik (Eric Bana), in a primitive cabin without a trace of modern technology. Rather than surfing the Internet and hanging out with friends, this teenager is learning to fight, hunt and speak Spanish, Italian and Arabic amongst other languages. Erik’s methods can be a bit callous, but they’re rooted in his deep love for his daughter and for her safety. However, eventually the day comes when Hanna must leave this life behind, enter the real world and demonstrate that she really is a perfect assassin…read more [Shockya]
Female empowerment — in the form of kick-ass heroines — seems to be all the rage, first with the exaggeratedly maligned Sucker Punch, and now with Joe Wright’s Hanna.
Like the Chloe Moretz character in Kick-Ass, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is the product of her father’s careful training. First seen slaying a caribou in the Arctic tundra with a bow-and-arrow (then finishing it with a pistol shot to the head), Hanna is a pale wraith of a teen (made more so by the decision to bleach Ronan’s eyebrows), who has been reared in the wild by dear old dad, Erik (Eric Bana), far, far from the corrupting influence of civilization and pop culture (she has never heard music, or so she says)…read more [Huffington Post]
“Hanna” kicks ass. But not in the smug, jokey, tasteless fashion of “Kick-Ass.” It’s an action thrill ride firmly rooted in the post-“Bourne” tradition with the added novelty of a teenage star. Ronan has come a long way in the short time since her Oscar nominated work in Wright’s “Atonement.” She delivers her best work yet as a young girl with deadly moves but an innocent mind. As in the Bourne films, Hanna’s mission becomes entwined with a search for self. She doesn’t have amnesia, but there’s much to discover about her past. Her journey is a giddy blast, as long as she’s on the run, beating up grown men (to the propulsive beats of a phenomenal techno-score by the Chemical Brothers) or bonding with a British surrogate family (including Jason Flemyng and Olivia Williams as the free-spirited parents and Jessica Barden as the sassy, pop culture-savvy daughter Hanna’s age). The film hits shakier ground with its fairy tale allusions—especially when Hanna encounters a mystery man living in “Grimm’s House” in an abandoned amusement park—and overuse of Blanchett’s caricatured villainess (her awkward Texas accent unnecessarily evoking George W. Bush)…read more [Metromix]
The fans wondered if HANNA would compare to Hit-Girl from last year’s Kick-Ass movie. But they’re both very separate, very different characters/movies. I mean, Hit-Girl’s universe is R-rated and more comical, HANNA on the other hand, though the concept may seem familiar, especially to those of you who are fans of such series as Dark Angel, she’s more grounded.
It’s a story of innocence lost and about her discovering the things that have been kept secret from her all these years for safety reasons.
I really enjoy the fight sequences in this film. It’s not Matrix-like, it’s not far-fetched, there’s no wiring or complicated special effects. The fights are like throwback to old school action flicks. Very well-choreographed, more up close and personal and yet remains brutal. There’s a fight scene of Bana Vs. Ronan, in a house, that’s a must-see.
If the PG-13 horror flick Insidious manages to scare America, then HANNA goes to show that it can be PG-13 and still be violent, hardcore and unforgiving…read more [Rama’s Screen]
Cinematographer Alwin Küchler luxurious widescreen framing, combined with frequently long takes, nicely showcases Sarah Greenwood’s fabulous production design. Wright and his collaborators also seed their work with various fairytale allusions. With her severe makeup, ruby-red lipstick and stalking demeanor, Marissa echoes a wicked witch, and Erik is an earthy woodcutter in the vein of Rapunzel’s father. Various settings are similarly informed by fairytale archetypes.
An undeniably strong selling point of Hanna is also found in its bristling, innovative score from the Chemical Brothers, which alternately gurgles, throbs and pulsates, sounding at times like a Madhatter’s rave. It’s an exceptionally imaginative soundtrack that expands upon staid notions of film scoring, and should be remembered come awards season…read more [Screen Daily]
None of the action, as stylized and fashionably shot as it may be, would work if you didn’t care for these characters. The screenplay and Wright’s handling of it is one part. The other comes from the acting, all of which is in top form here. Ronan commands her presence as Hanna, pulls out the sympathy when needed but never makes you question her ability to knock out some teeth. Hanna is a strong child role, one that requires an intensely gifted actress to take charge of it. That is something Ronan does almost effortlessly.
The same goes for Blanchett’s Marissa, a character who is decidedly malevolent in her ways but who doesn’t see herself as the villain of this story. Those are best types of villains, the ones who think their actions are for a greater good. Blanchett grasps that concept completely, almost making you second guess at times where her character’s story is headed. When she turns on the evil, though, it all becomes clear, and she makes Marissa one of the most effective villains to come along in quite some time…read more [FirstShowing]
The soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers is a predictably exciting cavalcade of ever-coiling ribbons of block-rockin’ beats, but the music doesn’t exactly compliment Hanna’s kinetic sojourn through Wright’s Tykwer-by-way-of-Fassbinder view-askew of Germany; too often, the film’s set pieces seem to cut themselves to the Chems’s metallic trance, and Hanna simply becomes a pageantry of music-video chic. Though you understand Marissa as the Big Bad Wolf to Hanna’s Red Riding Hood, why the former, possibly periodontal-diseased assassin cares so much about eating Ronan’s “perfect soldier” alive flies over one’s head as swiftly as Hanna soars above the stacked containers at a docking station—and, most absurdly, a series of swan-shaped boats at a rundown amusement park. “I just missed your heart,” a gun-toting Hanna says both at the start and end of the film, and you feel as if she’s talking directly at the audience…read more [Slant Magazine]
Hanna Movie Info
Running time: 111 minutes
Rated: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language)
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Jessica Barden
Director: Joe Wright
Genre: Adventure, Action
Studio: Ardustry Entertainment, Marty Adelstein Productions, Studio Babelsberg
Budget: $30 million
Official Movie Web Site: HannaTheMovie.com, http://focusfeatures.com/hanna
Opens: April 8, 2011. (Focus Features)
Hanna Video Review (ABC)
Hanna Video Review (PopcornReel.com)