Hanna (2011)

Starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Jessica Barden, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Michelle Dockery, Vicky Krieps, Martin Wuttke

Directed by Joe Wright

Expectations: The lowest of the low.


I never had any interest in watching Hanna. I saw the trailer a few times in the theater and thought it looked dumb. One of my co-workers wore me down and talked me into watching it, promising nothing more than a fun film. Note to self: trust your instincts. Hanna was pretty much awful right from the beginning, an absolute mess of inconsequential drama and ridiculous, unbelievable, poorly shot action. I thought director Joe Wright’s Atonement was a poor, overly praised film, but Hanna makes Atonement look like a genuine masterpiece.

Saoirse Ronan plays Hanna, a girl living with her father (Eric Bana) in a snowy forest. Bana teaches her survival tactics and reads her entries from an encyclopedia to beef up her intellect. She desires something more than the cabin in the woods can provide though (More INPUT!), so Bana makes that option available to her by digging up a beacon buried deep in the snow and giving Hanna the option to flip it on whenever she feels ready. He warns her though that as soon as she does, the evil Cate Blanchett will be after her! Oh nos!

While this isn’t a bad setup for a thrilling chase film, the film’s trailer covered every plot point I mentioned above, in addition to the following fifteen minutes as well. So the first half hour just rehashed everything I already knew about the movie from watching the trailer which I thought looked dumb. Great. After we move out of trailer country, the film picks up right? Right?

Unfortunately not, Voice in my Head. In fact, the film just continues to work its way through one mediocre scene after another, filled with some of the most juvenile and ridiculous scenes I’ve watched in a while. Truly a PG-13 film made for thirteen-year-olds. Ironically, I happen to be listening to Megadeth’s latest album, Thirteen, while I type this up. I didn’t plan it, I swear.

Don’t take my word for it though, consider this scene and just how absolutely ridiculous it is. The German hired killer stalks Hanna and tracks her to the campground where she is staying. She’s not at the camp now though, so when the killer opens the tent and shines his flashlight inside, only a young English boy begrudgingly opens his eyes. The killer then tells him to go back to sleep in German and the kid obliges, despite being English and not speaking German. Oh whatever, I can dismiss that as a groggy kid that woulda gone back to sleep regardless, but the next moments are unforgivable. After closing the tent, the killer and his wingmen walk off-frame in defeat. Immediately after they exit frame and in the same shot, Hanna and her new friend enter from the back and walk up the tent, loudly laughing and talking. Do the trained assassins see or hear her entering the tent that they just investigated? OF COURSE NOT, BECAUSE THIS MOVIE IS FUCKING STUPID.

The acting is fairly good throughout, with Cate Blanchett being a little too close to her awful character from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for my liking, but she fills the villain role well. Eric Bana is good when he’s around, but this is really Ronan’s film. She’s great as the cold and calculating Hanna, and it’s a shame she’s not in a better film. Hanna not only disappointed, it bored me to tears with its meandering, juvenile storyline. There’s no subtlety, there’s no tension, there’s nothing but an incredibly flat, boring film. And I didn’t even get into the bullshit uses of CGI in the fight scenes, or the fact that Western filmmakers always think that shooting said fight scenes in extreme close-up is the best idea. Fuck this movie.

4 comments to Hanna (2011)

  • Wow, I take it you didn’t like this? LOL

    Personally, I thought it was pretty good – the story held my attention throughout and the “fight scenes” weren’t the worst I’ve seen ever. I agree with you re: Cate Blanchett, her role really did seem too close to that in The Crystal Skull, and I also think Bana was woefully underused.

    Great review, though. Well written!

    • Hahaha, no not too much! This is why I generally try to avoid reviewing high-profile Hollywood films unless I’m specifically interested in them, because this is my usual response to them and I want the blog to be more than ranting reviews of why new films are shit.

      The fights weren’t the worst ever, but as I come from a strong love of Asian films and their high-quality fights, I’m always annoyed by how poorly shot Western hand-to-hand combat is. Glad you liked the review anyway though, thanks for your kind words!

  • I don’t know that it’s humanly possible for me to disagree with you more. First of all, this movie is an audio/visual TREAT. It’s one of those movies that was scored perfectly and in-tune with what was happening. I have no idea how you could have been bored.

    I also don’t really see why that scene you singled out was stupid. I’ve only seen the movie once, so I don’t remember the timing exactly, but from what I remember, it was entirely plausible that they had already left by the time Hanna and the other girl got back. If it’s like you said and there’s no cut, you might have a nitpick on your hands. I’ll remember to pay attention to that scene next time I watch it.

    What else…I had no problem with the fight scenes. The one with Bana in the subway was actually awesome. One take from beginning to end. Also, the fight at the playground toward the end was both awesome and hilarious. The guy that played the German whistler was a great, great character. He didn’t get a lot of screen time, but when he was there, he owned it.

    It’s too bad you didn’t like it, but it remains something I’d fully recommend to anyone.

    • Yeah, I realize I’m in the minority here. I really am a purist and cannot bring myself to accept modern film sensibilities, so things like CG in the fight scenes immediately puts me off. The subway scene is probably the best fight, but to me it looked so fake and unbelievable. The choreography felt slow and rehearsal-like. I don’t know, man, I just wasn’t feeling this one. It billed itself as action but I didn’t enjoy the action there was and it’s really more of a drama.

      I’ll agree that the music/visual are synched up well in the first half, but I felt that as the film went on the music got worse and failed to connect as well as it had previously. It’s probably more of me getting tired of it than anything else. And there’s so much downtime in the film with the family, all that was painfully boring.

      Perhaps it is plausible that the killers didn’t hear in that scene, but Hanna comes back so quickly after that I can’t imagine trained assassins being that oblivious to their surroundings. I realize that it’s the kind of scene where I’m supposed to say, “Whew! They just missed them!” but the one shot thing ruined that as it felt ridiculous.

      I still think it’s a shit movie, but I will agree that the majority of people disagree with me, so in that way it is recommendable to others.

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