Thursday 10 May 2018

Movie Review: Hanna (2011)

A chase thriller, Hanna has a mildly intriguing premise but is an otherwise lacklustre exercise in routine run-and-chase action.

Teenager Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is being brought up in the Arctic wilderness away from any social contact by her father Erik (Eric Bana). He trains her to be a ruthless warrior and an expert in survival and multiple languages. When Hanna finally grows restless, Erik allows her to activate a beacon revealing their location to the CIA. Agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) immediately picks up the signal and sets in motion a plan to capture both Erik and Hanna.

Marissa and Erik shared a history within a secretive human DNA-altering CIA program before he broke away to care for Hanna. Now he is plotting revenge, and eludes his captors as he makes his way across Europe to a rendezvous point. Hanna allows herself to fall into Marissa's clutches, before embarking on a wild run from Morocco to Europe that sucks in an American tourist family. Meanwhile, Marissa turns to the unauthorized assassination team of Isaacs (Tom Hollander) to try and clean up the mess.

Directed by Joe Wright, Hanna deserves some recognition for attempting to introduce a new spin to the thriller genre. The opening 30 minutes, featuring Erik and Hanna living an off-the-grid arctic existence with the sole purpose of perfecting Hanna's endurance, survival, navigation and hunting skills, are a provocative proposition. Wright builds curiosity around the father-daughter pair, and a sturdy foundation is laid for the story to come.

Unfortunately, the rest of Hanna fails to live up to expectations. Once Hanna and Erik re-enter the civilized world, the film descends rapidly into most routine territory. The final hour is a succession of chase, fight and shoot scenes connected by the most rudimentary and underdeveloped plot points. Character development is forgotten in favour of the next set piece. While these are undeniably well-staged, Wright leaves his actors with precious little to work with, Saoirse Ronan stuck with a single expression of mild annoyance and Cate Blanchett channeling Cruella Deville. Eric Bana all but disappears from the film.

The one distraction from the mundane surroundings is offered by Hanna finding refuge with a clueless tourist family motoring through North Africa and Europe in an old-fashioned motorhome. Dad Sebastian (Jason Flemyng), mom Rachel (Olivia Williams), daughter Sophie (Jessica Barden) and son Miles have no idea who Hanna is but she tags along, sometimes invited but mostly not. Some depth potential is offered in the burgeoning bond between Hanna and Sophie, but like almost everything in the film, that promise is trampled in the rush to the next implausible fracas with the bad guys.

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