Yet another one of my most anticipated of the year I can check off from my list. But this time I got to go in with high expectations considering it has been getting pretty good reviews all around. But will mine add to it? Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) was raised in the woods by her father Erik (Eric Bana) to become a skilled assassin. Her mission? To take out a woman named Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett) before meeting back up with her father. Unfortunately, things aren't that simple.

I really wanted to love this movie. I really wanted to. I just... well, let's start with the positives. The cinematography and overall visual style is pretty excellent, but I wouldn't expect any different from the director of Atonement--another flawed film, but it looked quite nice. Also, the story was a fascinating concept, and I don't just mean the girl assassin trained in the woods bit. The reasoning behind everything is rather excellent, and--without spoiling anything--I'll just say it tries to ground something more fantastic into reality, and it does it pretty well.

Then there's the acting. Saoirse Ronan totally rocks it as Hanna. She's one of those actresses where, even if the rest of the film turns out to be rubbish, she's always a great watch. And while I don't think this movie was rubbish, she was certainly the best part of it. Eric Bana isn't in the movie too much after the beginning--he shows up here and there and comes back in with more purpose near the end--but he's good with what he does. And of course Cate Blanchett pulls off an amazing Tilda Swinton in this movie, though I'm not sure if that was the purpose. And the hitman guy bugged me for some reason--I think it was the actor, who probably could have been played better by Peter Stormare.

The first problem, however, is that the characters outside of Hanna are unexplored and dull. The most interesting characters after Hanna are actually the most normal--the family that Hanna joins up with after a while. There are hints that there could be trouble in paradise, but those are never really explored. And there's some fun comic relief involved. But Bana and Blanchett are just kinda... there.

So what we're given is nearly 2 hours focusing on the world through the eyes of this girl. That could be done really well... if the movie could make up its mind what it wants to do. Half the time it's trying to be an action thriller. The other half of the time, it wants to be this kinda-drama about a girl raised away from society who has to become more acquainted with the modern world and its peoples. Unfortunately, the two don't mesh well together. At times, the movie tries to force the thriller aspect by playing suspenseful music where there doesn't need to be. For the drama scenes, it'll start having her reactions to things... but then just drop it and won't explore further. So yeah, a big problem I found was that it was trying to be two different films and couldn't find a way to merge them better. Also, the fairy tale symbolism stuff could have been tightened up a bit.

Because of all of this, there were quite a few parts where the film seemed to drag. I was actually bored at times. Luckily, when it actually did these things right, it did them very well. The action sequences are a lot of fun and are well choreographed. The more dramedy-type things, when actually followed through with, were very good. So it just seemed to me that the script maybe needed another draft or two to fix a few things.

On the whole, I was entertained, but I thought it could have been better. It tried to do too many things, but there wasn't enough story or enough interesting situations to allow its run-time, leaving most of the film up to being carried by its characters--which, outside Hanna, weren't really strong enough to do so. Thankfully the production value was excellent. The movie was great to look at. The script had some really good moments. This movie had a lot of potential, and sometimes that potential comes through. But overall... it was just kinda dull.

Stop Saying OK! OK.

(P.S. I was actually gonna give it one higher originally. But by the time I got to the end of writing this review, I just felt so 'blah' about it. Maybe on a repeat viewing on DVD my opinion might go up a little. Hopefully. I still, at this point, really want to like this movie more. I could probably bump it up for its cinematic eye alone, but... I won't.)


  1. Expectations seem to be playing havoc with many people's year...bad news for Harry Potter?

  2. Yeah, I'm with you Hatter - expectations are really throwing movies off this year. I loved The Lincoln Lawyer, and totally shouldn't have even seen it.

  3. Now, I haven't seen the movie I'm about to reference, but many have, and the reception so one-sided, that I think it's fair:


    This coming from the guy that gave Sucker Punch four out of five stars.

    What. The. Fuck.

    I don't need to see SP to say, "Nick, you high as hell."

    But seriously, I can sort of see where you might get bored with this, but I'm gonna put the blame for that mostly on your shoulders, and it actually is kinda funny that you prefer SP, which is, as far as I can tell, frenetic and nonstop. It's okay to be contemplative now and then.

    Suffice it to say, I dug the hell out of this.

  4. I know... I was just talking to Jess about that earlier. It seems lately I'm digging the movies others don't and not digging the movies others are. Something is wrong with me! :P

  5. Hum...I guess I see where you are coming from, I agree that the Blanchett character is weak, but I actually thought the rest of the cast of characters were interesting in a quirky, offbeat way.

    I thought this film was paced between the softer moments where Hanna struggles with more romantic, emotional feelings and the more brutal and ferocious action sequences.

    Not sure why it didn't all add up for you, but at least for me I thought the film was a blast to watch and actually a lot richer than I expected it to be.

  6. I will be waiting for this on Netflix. This movie isn't really garnering massive critical acclaim, it's merely positively received by most so I'm not sure why anyone would get their expectation up too much.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.