Movie #4: Hanna

Did you ever wonder what amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne would have been like if he’d been a teenage girl instead? Probably not. Who would? But that’s the gist of the movie Hanna. Raised by her father Erik (played by Eric Bana) in the cold, wintery country somewhere isolated from the rest of the world, he trained her to be a skilled hunter and assassin. We quickly learn that her target is someone named Marissa Weigler (played by Cate Blanchett with a horrible southern US accent which served no purpose. She might as well have been a European character like everyone else in the film), who turns out to be a US government agent who had been Erik’s handler. Things don’t go exactly as planned, so that leaves Hanna on the run from Weigler (and her evil goons, since for some reason Weigler has done such bad stuff that she needs criminals and killers to help her cover things up). A large part of this movie is about Hanna being lost in the world of people, wondering about all the things that she’s missed, and experiencing many things for the first time (she is fascinated by the light switch when she arrives at her first hotel). While on the run in Morocco, she encounters a vagabond British family and stows away with them, eventually befriending the daughter who is around her age. Hanna learns about family and friendship, but she can’t stick around because of the people hunting her. Saoirse Ronan (one of the best young female actors around) does a good job as Hanna, showing vulnerability and innocence along with deadly strength and efficiency. Similarly there’s a duality about this movie as well (but not in a good way). On one hand, there’s the story of a young, rogue assassin and the person chasing her, then there’s the story of a fish out of water, learning to understand people. The two don’t really come together because the people are just obstacles for Weigler on the way to reaching Hanna. Hanna also can’t spend the time she needs socializing when she’s got to kill some skinhead thugs who are trying to kill her. The whole story relies a lot on backstory to explain everyone’s actions (much like in The Bourne Identity), but unfortunately, much of it doesn’t make sense. If Erik’s goal was simply to kill Marissa, why go through all the trouble of training and raising Hanna with that singular goal? (Erik even trained Hanna to master many languages, which couldn’t have been easy, but it also didn’t help her reach her goal either — a blonde girl in Morocco didn’t exactly blend, regardless of the fact that she spoke Arabic.) Marissa showed no signs of being so difficult to kill. It’s not like she really even liked kids or ran an institution for runaway teens or anything that would justify the need for a teenaged assassin. Erik’s storyline was entirely pointless and I’m not sure why they bothered with him. This movie could have been a whole lot better if they simplified the whole context. Hanna is like a feral child, but one who’s been taught to be a secret agent, not a wolf. There’s a lot of story potential there, but instead, so much of the meaning of this movie is lost in cryptic subtext and pointless, moustache-twirling violence. I look forward to the new Bourne movie coming soon, to restore my faith in movies about human weapons. (3.5 out of 5)

4 down, 46 to go!

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