Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hanna (2011)

Hanna is a 2011 European-American action thriller film directed by Joe Wright. The film stars actress Saoirse Ronan as the title character with Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett. The film was released in North America on April 8, 2011 and in Europe on May 5, 2011.

The Plot

Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16-year-old girl who lives with her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana) in the wilderness of Finland. Ever since she was two years old, Hanna has been trained by Erik to become a skilled assassin. Due to her training away from any civilization, she has never come into contact with modern technology or culture, and has memorized a series of fake back-stories for herself to be used "when the time comes", as well as a great deal of encyclopedic knowledge. She is also fluent in several languages.

One night, Hanna tells Erik that she is "ready", and he reluctantly gives her a box containing an old transmitter that will alert the outside world to their presence. After some time considering the decision, Hanna flips the switch, sending a signal of her location to Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), a CIA officer. Marissa sends a team to Erik's cabin, where Hanna, who had been waiting for them since Erik left earlier, is captured and taken to a CIA safe house. There, she discovers that Erik is a former CIA agent who betrayed the agency and knows a secret that cannot become public. Marissa has been assigned to kill him, but Erik has trained Hanna to kill Marissa. Knowing that Hanna was captured too easily, Wiegler sends a body double (Michelle Dockery) to speak with Hanna. Not trusting the double, Hanna asks the body double where she met her father. The double, who is being fed answers through an ear piece by Marissa, answers the final question correctly, which makes Hanna start crying and crawl into the lap of the double, sobbing into her shoulder. This makes the officials uneasy, who send soldiers and a doctor to her cell to sedate her to calm her down. As they enter the cell, Hanna kills the double believing her to be the real Wiegler, the doctor and the officials, breaks free and escapes the compound.

While on the run through the desert, Hanna meets Sebastian (Jason Flemyng) and Rachel (Olivia Williams), a bohemian British couple on a camper-van holiday with their teenage daughter, Sophie (Jessica Barden), whom Hanna befriends, and their younger son, Miles (Aldo Maland}. She soon realises she is in Morocco, and after meeting the family a second time, sneaks into their van and hitches with them across to Spain, and then on to Germany. Meanwhile, Wiegler hires a former agent called Isaacs (Tom Hollander) to capture Hanna while she goes after Erik, who is in Germany. Later, Isaacs and his men corner Hanna and the family, but she manages to escape after fighting Isaacs' men and killing one of them. Wiegler interrogates the family, and tricks the son, who became infatuated with Hanna, into revealing that Hanna is heading for Berlin. The fate of the family is not revealed.

In Hesse, Germany, Hanna meets with Knepfler (Martin Wuttke), an eccentric and friendly old magician who lives in Steinau an der Stra├če at the whimsical childhood home of the Brothers Grimm, in order to rendezvous with her father as they had previously arranged. Knepfler introduces Hanna to the music of Edward Grieg and prepares waffles for her, commenting how Erik has given her to little of the riches of life. However, Wiegler and Isaacs arrive at the place and Knepfler manages to distract them while Hanna escapes. She eventually meets with her father at her grandmother's apartment, where Wiegler had killed her grandmother earlier in her search. Hanna then learns that Erik is not her father, and it is revealed that Erik was actually once a recruiter for a program in which pregnant women were recruited from abortion clinics so that the CIA could alter their children's DNA, enhancing their strength, stamina, and reflexes while suppressing emotions like fear and empathy in order to create a batch of super-soldiers. However, the project was shut down for unexplained reasons and all the women and their genetically-modified children were eliminated. Erik tried to escape with Hanna and her mother Johanna Zadek (Vicky Krieps), but Wiegler murdered Johanna, while Erik managed to escape with Hanna.

As Erik finishes explaining the truth to a bewildered Hanna, Wiegler and Isaacs arrive, intent on killing them; Erik acts as a distraction to allow Hanna to escape. Erik kills Isaacs and his cohort, but is shot and killed by Wiegler, who then goes back to the Grimm house where she finds Hanna, who just discovered Knepfler dead from the interrogation, his corpse hung after being used for archery practice by Isaacs. After a chase into the woods toward a seemingly abandoned Grimm themed amusement park, Hanna and Wiegler confront one another. Hanna pleads for an end to the killing, saying she doesn't want to hurt anyone else. Wiegler says she just wants to talk, but Hanna starts walking away. Upset by this act of defiance, Wiegler shoots Hanna, who simultaneously shoots Wiegler with an arrow she pulled from Knepfler's body, using a bungee cord she found to propel it. Hanna is knocked to the ground with a bullet in her stomach. She gets up, gets her bearings and she sees Wiegler attempting to flee up a nearby water slide. An unarmed Hanna chases Wiegler to the top of the slide's stairs, as Wiegler continually shoots at her. Near the top, it becomes clear that Hanna's arrow did more damage than Wiegler's bullet, and a disoriented Wiegler falls and slides down the water flume right when she is about to shoot Hanna. Hanna follows the wounded Wiegler, picks up the dropped gun, comments on how she missed Wiegler's heart, and shoots her dead, mirroring the scene at the beginning of the film with Hanna hunting and killing a reindeer.


Hanna received mostly positive reviews; it holds a 71% favorable rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 196 reviews with the consensus stating "Fantastic acting and crisply choreographed action sequences propel this unique, cool take on the revenge thriller." Justin Chang of Variety states that "Joe Wright's 'Hanna' is an exuberantly crafted chase thriller that pulses with energy from its adrenaline-pumping first minutes to its muted bang of a finish." Roger Ebert gave the film three and a half stars out of four, commenting "Wright combines his two genres into a stylish exercise that perversely includes some sentiment and insight".

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian, on the other hand, gives the film two of five stars, stating "With its wicked-witch performance from Cate Blanchett, its derivative premise, its bland Europudding location work and some frankly outrageous boredom, this will test everyone's patience." Kenneth Turan, of the Los Angeles Times, states that the film "starts off like a house afire but soon burns itself out". He states that even though the film is "[b]lessed with considerable virtues, including a clever concept, crackling filmmaking and a charismatic star, it ultimately squanders all of them, undone by an unfortunate lack of subtlety and restraint."

The Cast

Saoirse Ronan as Hanna Heller
Cate Blanchett as Marissa Wiegler
Eric Bana as Erik Heller
Jessica Barden as Sophie
Tom Hollander as Isaacs
Olivia Williams as Rachel
Jason Flemyng as Sebastian
Michelle Dockery as False Marissa
Vicky Krieps as Johanna Zadek
Martin Wuttke as Knepfler (Mr. Grimm)
Sebastian Hulk as Titch

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