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Hanna (PG-13)


04/14/11
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



The CIA hunts a teenage girl who can kill with remarkable skill in Hanna, a thriller scored to kicky-fun music by The Chemical Brothers.

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) lives in the woods, hunter-gatherer-style, with her father, Erik (Eric Bana). Mostly hunter, as he has taught her to kill both woodland creatures and humans. Now about 16, Hanna wants something of the wider world but her father has told her that for that to happen she must defeat a woman named Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), whose name sounds extra creepy when Hanna says it in her weird Scandinavian-or-something accent. Erik has a box, a radio of some kind, that will send a signal to Marissa Wiegler when Hanna decides she’s ready to kick some serious CIA butt.

Hanna is ready.

When she flips the button, Marissa Wiegler does indeed decide to go chasing it — thinking she’ll find Erik. Her men find only Hanna, and Marissa Wiegler, being smart as well as evil-seeming, sends in a look-alike to interrogate Hanna, whom Hanna kills, along with a bunch of guards. As she escapes.

Thus begins a chase, with Marissa trying to find both Hanna and Erik, and Hanna and Erik trying to meet up. Marissa is on the hunt for Hanna because she is somehow special — just how is hinted at when she fights three henchmen while jumping on, off and around giant shipping containers as Chemical Brothers dance music plays in the background.

This is one of those movies I think I might have enjoyed more if nearly every aspect of it hadn’t been given away in the trailers. I felt like I went in knowing the plot and so for me the experience of watching the movie was all about the atmospherics — menacing German club, creepy deteriorating theme park, fairy tale-esque woods (Grimms’ fairy tales make for a mood-setter throughout the movie). That plus the as-advertised exciting score by the Chemical Brothers made for a fun if not terribly suspenseful ride.

The pairing of Ronan and Blanchett is a nice one — both play to the weirder parts of their personas here. Blanchett turns herself into a campier Tilda Swinton with a swish of crazy red hair and a facial expression that could kill weaker men on sight. Ronan meanwhile looks like a wild animal about to pounce throughout the film. They make excellent opponents in this crazy little chase. B-

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language. Directed by Joe Wright and written by Seth Lochhead and David Farr, Hanna is an hour and 51 minutes long and distributed by Focus Features.






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