Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The Girl is a Killer: Hanna (2011) - Official Trailer [HD]
"I just missed the heart."
Uttered at the beginning and repeated - in different circumstances - at the end, just may be the summation of this worthy but uneven thriller from "Atonement" director Joe Wright. To his credit, Wright, along with screenwriter Seth Lochhead, have taken a now well-worn movie premise - the young girl trained as a killer/universal soldier - and have breathed some life into it.
The film starts off in the snowy woods of Norway, where Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has been trained in the killing arts and fed facts by rote from an encyclopedia, by her father (Eric Bana). Being a teenager, she is naturally eager to prove her worth and escape her father's overarching influence - there are boys out there after all. He agrees to let her go, but before there can be any fraternizing with the opposite sex, Hanna must deal with her main pursuant, a CIA agent by the name of Viegler (Cate Blanchett) who has, shall we say, a very close association to Hanna and her family dating back to the girl's birth.
The precise nature of that relationship is one of the film's linchpins and is revealed through a deft combination of slow build-up and explosive action and chase scenes, which take Hanna from her woodland home to Morocco and then across southern Europe and ultimately into Germany, where the full bill of her unparalleled abilities as both hunter and survivor is read out. Thrown into the mix are a free-spirited family making their way across Europe in an old van, and a gay contract killer who assists Viegler in the increasingly difficult task of tracking down and securing the teen target.
Besides being marred by one foot chase too many, Hanna offer s little in the way of emotional connection to its characters. Blanchett, as always, makes a good go of it as the agent with (slightly) conflicting sensibilities, but neither Ronan nor Bana ever really touch that nerve inside that gets us to care and root for their characters.
In the end, the film is just not able to throw off the weight of its genre conventions, and ends up being merely a decent action thriller.