Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Movie Review- Hanna

Wow I've been spending all my free time reading lately with this Post Potter Reading Challenge that I haven't allowed myself to watch any movies! Well I made time this past weekend to see Hanna! I came to appreciate Joe Write when I saw Pride in Prejudice back in 2005 and fell in love with him when I saw Atonement. He has an incredible gift of making every shot look like a beautiful, serene photograph. I especially loved his recently released Coco Mademoieselle commercial starring Kiera Knightly; like all fragrance commercials, it plays on the beauty of women yet Joe was able to make it empowering at the same time. Hanna was definitely a stray away from his romantic period pieces. Upon first hearing the description of the film, I really wondered how it could possibly play out knowing Joe's style. Was this going to be some kind of Jason Bourne mixed with Hit Girl!? A lot of kick-ass girl type characters can turn out to be just horrible. Just looking at the previews of Sucker Punch, I can only see of overly sexualized vixens. I mean just look at the main character- she's got a doll face, is wearing a school girl outfits, and fighting giant robots!? Screams ultimate boy fetish movie. Hanna on the other hand isn't 90 minutes of pumping Jason Bourne bad ass-ery nor is it a hot chick wearing leathers fighting off gangs of men. The film is essentially a coming of age modern fairy tale and alludes to many of the classic Grimm tales throughout.

So what's this movie about? Well the plot is super basic. Basically an ex-CIA man, Erik, takes his daughter when she was a baby out to a secluded snowy forest in Finland. There, he raises to be the perfect assassin. He teaches her every tid bit fact in the world, every language ever developed in history, fighting and weaponry, and hunting and surviving. How is this possible for a teenage girl? Well, Hanna was part of a experiment conducted by the CIA back in the 90's. The CIA team carrying out this project, which was headed by Cate Blanchett's character Marissa, altered the DNA of embryos in pregnant women in an experiment to create the perfect soldiers. The project was shut down and Marissa destroyed all evidence. Hanna's mother and Erik run away with baby Hanna, but Marissa hunts them down and Hanna's mother gets killed. From there, it becomes a a plot for revenge on Erik's part. He trains Hanna ruthlessly until the day she is ready to take down Marissa.

Again, the plot is super basic. I know some viewers may be disappointed on that aspect, but a complicated intricate CIA cover up plot isn't what this movie is about. This movie is about Hanna and her journey into world. The story of Hanna is very much like the fairy tales the film refers to throughout. Common characteristics it has with many of the classic fairy tales includes the young girl protagonist, the mother dying when she was a baby, the kind father raising her, a whimsical mysterious character that helps the girl on her journey, and the evil witch/stepmother that's out to get the girl. Also like in many fairy tales, Hanna is out on a journey into a world completely different from her's and she discovers new and unusual things and picks up strange new friends.

I loved the creativity Joe used in this sense. The entire movie was shot in a way that made that world we know so well seem so unfamiliar and feel like a brand new experience. Hanna, though very primitive and wild, felt overwhelmed by this new world. The feeling that comes with each each scene shifts dramatically throughout the movie, kind of like when the hero/heroine in a fairy tale moves to the next stage of his/her journey. Hanna's escape from confinement is thrilling and pulsating, then her time in Morocco feels eye opening and jubilant, and the last scenes in Berlin are enchanting and mysterious. Unlike a typical Grimm fairy tale, there is no handsome prince in the formula at the end. Think more Hans Christen Andersen. In the end, she breaks away from the grip and control her father has had on her, her entire life.

The character Hanna was done pretty well I thought. It's not easy to do a coming of age story with a teenage girl. As we all know, the minds of teenage girls can be quite complicated and rebellious. Hanna is quite different from other girls her age which makes it that much more complicated. She is discovering what it means to have a friend her age, to dabble with boys, briefly feel what it may have been like to have normal parents, and experience the small joys of life such as music. On this note about Hanna, the actress that portrays her Saoirse Ronan is fantastic. I'm blown away by her performance with each movie she comes out with and her unique looks are growing on me more and more.

Other aspects of the film I like- the score. The score, composed by My Chemical Romance, complimented the film marvelously. I really like this modern twist on the scores that directors have recently been utilizing. Also the wonderful cinematography that comes with every Joe Write movie and the very interesting camera work that was used. Cate Blanchett's character was kind of a cra-cra biotch for no reason but whatev. I kind of wish the ending was a bit more satisfying, but I'll take it. One thing I'll point out though, I'll admit this might be more of a chick film. The guy next to me was sighing annoyingly and texting on his phone the entire time. When the credits rolled at the end, he proceeded to whine about how much the movie sucked. Guys, if you're looking for an action packed Jason Bourne movie, look elsewhere. If you want to watch a coming of age journey of a teenage girl raised who was raised in a highly unusual situation, then this is it.

Final Score- 9/10

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