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DVD Review: Hanna

September 6, 2011

Hanna – An Alliance Films’ Release

http://www.hannathemovie.com/

DVD Release Date: September 6th, 2011

Rated PG for violence

Running time: 111 minutes

Joe Wright (dir.)

Seth Lochhead (screenplay and story)

David Farr (screenplay)

The Chemical Brothers (music)

Saoirse Ronan as Hanna

Eric Bana as Erik

Cate Blanchett as Marissa

Olivia Williams as Rachel

Our reviews below:

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Hanna DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

All of her life, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has been raised by her father, Erik (Eric Bana) in the remote woods of Finland.  Partaking in rigorous daily training with the strict motto of “adapt or die,” she has enough skills to take down anyone.  But with the push of a mysterious flashing red button, the 16-year-old girl ends up in the custody of the CIA.  With ice-cold special agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett) hot on her trail, Hanna promptly escapes from the secure facilities.  What follows is a tense and sometimes strikingly violent chase across Europe, with the teenager finding her place in the world as she discovers shocking secrets about her own existence.

Throughout it all, Saoirse Ronan keeps Hanna grounded with an excellent performance.  The majority of the cinematography here is also captivating, although it should be noted that certain scenes are filmed in a way that is perhaps a little too artistic for their own good.  In particular, several close-ups of Marissa brushing her teeth are nothing more than red herrings.  But from the opening scene right through to the brilliant fade out that takes it all full circle, Hanna is a gripping thriller that pays tribute to both the terror and innocence of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.  This sharp juxtaposition is even evident in the excellent techno score from The Chemical Brothers, just one of the reasons why the film is worth a look.

The Blu-ray includes commentary with director Joe Wright, a featurette on one of the action sequences, deleted scenes as well as an alternate ending.

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Hanna DVD Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

The film of Hanna opens with the title character (Saoirse Ronan) in the middle of remote Finland, subsistence hunting a caribou.  While she is cleaning the meat, her father Erik (Eric Bana) comes up from behind and starts a training fight, reminding her to never turn her back which opens herself up for attack (this opening scenes’ action ties directly to the end).  Turns out, Erik has been training Hanna to be completely lethal in hand-to-hand combat, in order for her to eventually take down CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett).  Hanna also knows several languages, but little of the social norms of the outside (city) world.  The question is, who (or what) is Hanna, and why does her battle with Marissa have to be one to the death?

Hanna is a well-enough made film, although I found some of the shots distractingly artsy at times.  Where the film is the most interesting and really succeeds is through Hanna’s interactions with peers her own age for the first time.  Watching Ronan play this character as a complete newcomer to the social world was quite intriguing at times.  The rest of the movie – the fights that bookmark this middle section and are sprinkled throughout – are stylistically, although not too, graphic, which while interesting and suspenseful are nothing far above other genre works.

If you are into action films and the trailer interested you, it’s worth a look.  The performances are fine, and Saoirse Ronan is in particular quite good in it.  Just be forewarned that there is violence that sensitive viewers might not enjoy seeing, especially considering the character of Hanna is only 16.

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Hanna DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Hanna is an interesting thriller that explores the psychology of its title character.  Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16-year-old fugitive living on the Finnish taiga with her father (Eric Bana), who’s an ex-CIA agent.  In the opening scene, she hunts a caribou for food (this scene was filmed with a trained reindeer and CGI arrows.  Although no real animals were harmed in this movie, I chose to skip this scene on the Blu-Ray anyway, as I have heard it looks quite realistic).  Hanna and her dad soon leave Finland on a quest to track down Marissa, a CIA agent who wants to kill her for a mysterious reason.  Hanna, while a trained assassin, does not know how to interact with the outside world.  When she meets another teenager and her family, she is at first unsure how to interact with a girl with a normal upbringing.  But the more Hanna hangs out with her new friend, the more determined she is to protect herself and find out her mysterious past, in order to have a chance at a normal life.

While Hanna has violent moments in which sensitive viewers will want to skip or close their eyes during, the film is worth seeing.  I really liked the scene in Finland where Hanna plays with wolf puppies.  But some of the most interesting scenes are the ones in which Hanna discovers the real world.  She is completely overstimulated by all the sights and sounds.  Her interactions with peers are stilted and autistic-like, in the way that she relays facts in an attempt to socialize.  Anyone interested in psychology will find much of Hanna interesting.  Rent this movie if you are looking for a sci-fi, psychological thriller.

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Hanna DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Raised in a remote Northern Finland forest by her ex-CIA agent father, Erik (Eric Bana), title character Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) at 16 is well versed in martial arts, weapons use, survival skills and several languages.  Her training and skills are put to the test when she leaves her medieval-like home and has to survive on her own in a chase to the death through modern Europe.

Hanna is an incredibly suspenseful, action-filled thriller with the chase between the unnaturally agile and quick Hanna and the coldly efficient CIA agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett) being the focal point of this female-centric artsy and edgy film.  Even with all the action going on, it’s the quieter scenes with Hanna trying to take in all the new people and experiences that made the movie interesting for me.  Hanna’s feral and in some ways autistic-like responses to this new world are believable.  Young Irish actor, Saoirse Ronan is excellent as Hanna.

There are some sci-fi twists and turns, lots of reference to Grimm’s fairy tales and plenty of action violence in Hanna.  Mostly there is a strong sense of suspense throughout the movie.  Hanna won’t appeal to everyone.  For some sensitive viewers, the opening caribou hunting scene which comes back to play in the closing scene will put them off watching the movie.  However for those who like a lot of action mixed with some interesting artsy shots, Hanna is worth checking out particularly for the strong performance by Saoirse Ronan.

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Hanna DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is by nature and nurture an assassin, thanks to the genetic engineering and hit girl training in the near arctic Finland wilderness by Erik Heller (Eric Bana), the only father she has ever known. Hanna’s target is CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), who had killed Hanna’s mother when Heller’s secret warrior breeding program was aborted, with Erik and infant Hanna the only survivors. With the resources of the CIA and aid of hit man Isaacs (Tom Hollander), Marissa is out to kill Erik and Hanna before they get her. The hypervigilant Hanna is at first overwhelmed by modern technology and socially feral but a resourceful survivor fluent in several languages, all skills put to good use as she escapes from a Morocco compound and makes her way across Europe to Berlin to rendezvous with Erik and face Marissa.

Directed by Joe Wright from a story by BC native Seth Lochhead, Hanna is nonstop suspense and action, always fascinating to watch with clever camera work, brilliant editing and a great techno score from the Chemical Brothers. Saoirse Ronan beautifully embodies Hanna’s cold determination mixed with vulnerability. Cate Blanchett is chilling as the self-described wicked witch. Eric Bana is a believable spy with all the right moves, and Tom Hollander is perfectly creepy as the cabaret queen/assassin. If you can accept the disturbing premise of the film you are in for a hell of a ride.

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Consensus:  With strong technical merits that include a unique score from The Chemical Brothers and an excellent performance from Saorise Ronan in the title role, Hanna is a tense thriller with some impressive action sequences.  *** (Out of 4)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elle permalink
    September 11, 2011 10:55 pm

    Could anybody give me a play by play about the alternate ending? I’m dying to know! Thank you!

    • September 11, 2011 11:25 pm

      SPOILER ALERT:

      The alternate ending is actually more a scene that briefly follows the final scene of the film. It shows Hanna back in Finland returning to her old house. Her voice over tells us different facts about life on Earth and describes how the planet recovered after the asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, drawing comparisons to their motto of “adapt or die.” We see her put back on her fur coat over her modern clothes, and greet her wolf pups. Then the scene ends as she pushes the door open and goes out into the bright outdoors.

      It doesn’t really add much to the story, and the actual ending is more circular to the opening scene. Although only 1 minute and 26 seconds, after the film it’s still worth a look.

      Hope this helps and thanks for reading!

      -John C.

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