Friday, April 8, 2011

Movie with Abe: Hanna

Directed by Joe Wright
Released April 8, 2011

Saoirse Ronan is a talented young actress with a knack for accents, earning an Oscar nomination for her part in “Atonement” and being the only worthwhile element, aside from Stanley Tucci, of Peter Jackson’s flop “The Lovely Bones.” Fortunately, it looks like she will have a promising career full of meaty roles, though it also appears that she will often be the best part of them. This loud, violent thriller from “Atonement” and “Pride & Prejudice” director Joe Wright follows a child raised to be a killer and her fearsome and furious immersion into civilization after years of isolation and training in the woods with her father.

Hanna’s entry into the real world isn’t a smooth or terribly compelling one. There’s a presumption that she’s learned a great deal about languages and history that has prepared her to be a world traveler, though, coupled with that, she has a youthful ignorance about the way simple things work that only shows through intermittently and conveniently when the story finds a use for it. After her father (Eric Bana) rushes off to let her be exposed to the outside and fend for herself, she quickly joins up with a vacationing family and becomes fast friends with a chatty brat named Sophie (Jessica Barden, whose energy is the indisputable highlight of the film). She is welcomed in rather easily by Sophie’s family and has little trouble stowing away where she must to get to those places that will help her find closure and lead her to her next step in life.

“Hanna” prides itself on its simplicity, a design that allows Hanna to exist as if she is the focal point of the universe in her quest and near invisible when subtlety is required. The story in itself isn’t very convincing or original, but there are parts of the action that stand out. The music of the Chemical Brothers in particular serves to set the tone of the film, and while it’s invasive and distracting at times, it guides the film at others. Tom Hollander, last seen bumbling and baffled as a politician in “In the Loop,” is particularly intriguing as a quietly and comically terrifying villain with an unforgettable and frightening whistled theme. There are several sparse moments that indicate a better, more even and tight thriller than the rest of the movie presents. Cate Blanchett replicates a brand of the cartoonish villain she portrayed in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” and it would be nice if the Oscar-winning actress could earn some better roles. This is a stepping stone for Ronan as an actress, destined eventually for well-rounded pictures and ready to inhabit intriguing characters that aren’t too memorable until then.


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