September 27, 2011

D’ya feel lucky, punk?! My piece on the excellent and very intense action-thriller Hanna is now up on the website.

This was a fresh, even brilliant, take on the female assassin genre. Gotta dig that score by the Chemical Brothers! Action fans watch it, enjoy it. This is probably one of the best movies to come out of 2011.

Hanna is a fresh spin on action-thriller genre

Intense as a hand grenade and masterfully constructed, Hanna is an adventure of mythic proportions disguised as a blood and bullets thrill ride.
The movie opens with a young girl swathed in grey furs, hunting reindeer in the frozen forests of Northern Finland. The snow muffles her approach as, with bow and arrow, she nails an antlered male like a pro. “I just missed your heart,” she whispers before she fires the death blow.

As she’s skinning the kill, her father Erik (played by Eric Bana with a heavy German accent) creeps up and attacks her. Hanna defends herself as best she can, managing a few decent strikes. But she’s defeated with a judo throw and Erik leaves her lying on her back, her skin almost as pale as the white tundra.

Her name is Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) and you will know her by the trail of dead  she leaves behind.

With cobalt blue eyes, delicate features, and pale blonde hair (even her eyebrows), Hanna makes for a strange, waifish angel of death. But she doesn’t know it yet. When the movie starts, all we know is that Erik is teaching his teenage daughter the art of death dealing in both armed and unarmed ways.

Eventually, clues reveal that Erik is an ex-CIA man and that Hanna is being groomed to be an instrument of righteous vengeance. Putting her through extreme workouts, reading her encyclopedias in lieu of an education, coaching her in several languages, Hanna’s life IS her training. She is drilled day in and day out to the mantra of “Adapt or Die.”

The first turning point comes when Hanna herself finds out what all the training’s for, when she’s released into the world to find and eliminate Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), the CIA agent who killed Hanna’s mother. Make no mistake, though; this movie is so much more than a plot of familial retribution.

With elements taken from The Professional, La Femme Nikita and The Long Kiss Goodnight, director Joe Wright (along with screenwriters Seth Lochhead and David Farr) interlaces these genre staples with allusions to fable and legend, especially those from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The result is a movie suffused with primeval energy, enabling Hanna to transcend genre formulas and the often overwrought platitudes they come with, to kick it into the realm of moral allegory.

Read the rest of the review HERE.


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