February 3, 2012

Hanna (with no sisters)...

Sometimes films come and go so quickly that if you miss opening weekend, you have missed your chance. Except of course those damn Twilight movies which linger forever.

One of those blink-and-you'll miss it films is last year's Hanna, which we just saw on demand, and it is fast, suspenseful, and more involving than I expected.

Young Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is living with her father Erik (my secret movie boyfriend Eric Bana) in the snowy woods. She has spent her life learning to hunt, fight, and speak several languages. At this point, she determines that she is "ready," and so Erik unearths a metal box with a switch inside. When Hanna flicks the switch, CIA agent Marissa Weigler (a super wicked Cate Blanchett) will know where they are. And the game will begin.

Without giving away too much of the plot... Weigler and Erik have a dark history (I can't tell you more), Hanna is on a mission to kill Weigler (I can't tell you why), there is a capture (not gonna tell you who), a fake death (ditto), more chases, and assorted brutal killers are chasing each other, all while the shawdowy tale behind the big chase is slowly revealed.


There are some quiet moments that anchor this smart action flick, such as when a mesmerized Hanna asks"What does music feel like?" and when she makes her first friend. Most of all, fantastic acting and crisply choreographed action sequences propel this unique, cool take on the revenge thriller.

While the plot doesn't seem like much, there's really quite a bit here. Putting aside the entirely questionable parenting choice of teaching Hanna to kill, the father/daughter relationship is believable and touching. The movie's clashing personalities create a lot of friction, and the traveling family Hanna meets argues about raising children as it reflects on Hanna, who is highly trained in combat and weapons, and totally naive about things like music, clothes, food, and even electricity. Lots of contrasts going on here.

I think the heart of this movie says something about our attempt and failure as humans to truly connect with each other. But mostly it's a fast chase movie that goes with any flavor of popcorn. See it.

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