Hanna (2011)

I write these posts with little thought to spoilers. Beware.

Hanna (Saorise Ronan) is always on the alert. And she has good reason to be as she's chased across two (plus?) continents in this strange, exciting and funny action flick.

Synopsis: A teen girl goes through some tough transitions to adulthood as she learns about independence and the fallibility of her father. Also she kills a lot of military goons.

I knew from the moment I saw a preview for Hanna that I was going to like this movie. To quote Dark Angel, “Girls kick ass. Says so on the t-shirt.” Hanna kicks ass. And Hanna whether knowingly or not is very Dark Angel-inspired.

This film has a lot going for it. Great acting on the part of everyone involved. Beautiful cinematography. Excellent timing. And this bizarre, off-kilter feel that leaves you with the sense you’ve just seen something completely original. All of the adults in Hanna do excellent jobs with their performances. And Saorise Ronan is fantastic as a bemused and lethal wild child. But the proverbial show is stolen by Jessica Barden who plays Sophie, a girl Hanna meets and be-friends as she tries to escape capture by the government or worse. Sophie delivers so many side-splitting one-liners in such rapid succession, you’re just left kind of in awe of her pure teen insanity. She’s a delight and she adds to the laughs that make Hanna more than just bad ass.

The movie portrays violence quite graphically without ever being gruesome. It's a fine line to walk, but I appreciate the end result.

The film sets up some beautiful contrasts between the locations Hanna visits and the life she leads isolated somewhere in the Arctic north compared to her life on the run from Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett). The cinematography, by the same man that did Sunshine, is breath-taking.

Funny, weird, mysterious, smash ’em crash’em. This movie has it all. If I had to pick one thing it’s lacking, I would say that it could have done more with the idea of taking a girl who was raised hunting deer in the frozen wilderness and transplanting her into mainstream culture. We get some delightful moments of culture shock in the film and Hanna herself could best be described as quirky. But there is definite potential to dig deeper into what fundamental differences Hanna would possess with her singular upbringing.

That being said, the film is a delight. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. And if you have, check it out and watch it again.

Takeaway quote: (Hanna, regarding her date, whom she has just tackled to the floor) Should I let him go? (Sophie) As opposed to what, you lunatic? Of course you should let him go?

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