Monday, April 23, 2012

What's next on my list? Hanna

My next review is about a movie that not many may know about, so let us discuss:

Hanna is a young teenager who lives somewhere, I’m guessing in the artic, with her father Erik, who has been training her to be an assassin ever since she was born. They live alone, isolated; they are hunters and gatherers. Erik reads her enciclopedias, books, he teaches her every language; she knows everything there is to know, but she has not yet experienced anything. She asks to see the world, seeing that she is prepared, he can’t teach her more and the only reason they live isolated is that she won’t be killed. Being trained to survive, she can live her life now. Erik gives her a switch, and leaves her, saying that they’ll meet in Berlin and she’ll have to get there on her own. She turns the switch which sets of an alarm at the CIA and they come and get here. Once she is there she requests to see a woman called Marissa, who for some reason is awfully interested in her. Hanna escapes the facility and finds herself in Marocco, where she makes friends with a British family on holiday and gets a ride to Europe. However, Marissa for reasons that are still not explained, wants her dead and sends a man by the name of Isaacs after her, seeing that she cannot have the CIA involved.
So far we know that Erik is an agent as well, they are all from Germany and Marissa has previously killed Hanna’s mother, Johanna, and now her grandmother. Hanna slowly starts to live the life a teenager deserves, she sees the world, makes friends, goes on a date. However, she starts to find out a couple of things on her own. Erik is not her father and she was part of an experiment. Women whom had trouble conceiving where recruited by Erik for a special project, to create children to be deadly weapons. These mothers all had their babies with the help of genetic engineering. The head of the project was Marissa, who pulled the plug on it and killed everyone involved. Hanna was the only one to survive, seeing that Erik saved her in time. After several days of chasing each other, all the partys meet up and the final showdown begins. Erik fights Isaacs, and even though he defeats the con-man, Marissa shoots him. Even if all through the movie we are given the impression that Marissa cares for Hanna, as if she was her daughter, she still seems determined to finish her, but she loses and Hanna kills her.

What worked in the movie?

First of all the casting was magnificient. Hanna was an innocent cute girl, up until the second she starts to fight you, because then she scares the hell out of you and you wish you had never met her. The movie is really about how someone who knows everything about the world realizes that she doesn’t know anything at all. Sounds, tastes, sights, all of it is a mystery to her. Her father, Erik is also excellent. He doesn’t come off as the James Bond type, however if it came to it, he would probably beat Mr. Bond in a second. Isaacs was a weird character, he was a homosexual man, however his henchmen are two bald dudes whom are obviously neo-nazis… I am not entirely sure how the two come together. Anyway, from the first second you know why Marissa would recruite them: they know what they are doing. And last but not least Marissa herself. Wow she was creepy! At first she just appears to be one of those agents who never leave their desks and gets excited everytime a gun can be fired, however she is quite the contrary. She proves to be smart, although Hanna and Erik try to kill her several times, she always escapes them. And there is an emphasis put on her clothing. You’d never think that the fact that a woman pays attention to wearing a green skirt with matching coat and shoes is frightening as hell! This obsessive attention to detail totally scares the shit out of you! She was a wonderful villain. Also I loved that two Austrilian, one British and an American portreyed Germans. And they did a good job at that, even if sometimes I couldn’t tell what accent they were trying to imitate.
And at last, what I believe made this movie great was the music. The Chemical Brothers made a fantastic soundtrack for this movie, I urge you to check it out!

What didn’t work?

Well, everything else. Starting from the beginning of the story all the way to the end. Not to mention a couple of very predictable but completely unneccessary scenes. The movie wants to be mysterious, it wants you to think before it gives you all the answers. Unfortunately though it makes you ask question to which it never gives answers to. You are completely left in the dark.
First off there are Marissa’s feelings. She seems to be in constant pain, but we never understand why. She gives us the impression that she loved Hanna as if she was her daughter, there are even hints that make us think that she simply wants her back. But she perfectly knows that if she tells her that Erik lied and he isn’t who he said he was, Hanna will feel betrayed and perhaps she’ll be able to turn her onto her side. But this never happens. Instead she insists on killing her, even though when she was a baby she let her go, making you think that she does want her to live. Second, the reason why Marissa or the CIA would pull the plug on this perfect soldier project is totally unclear, seeing that Hanna is a perfect example of the fact that in the long run it would’ve been very successful. Also, out of the babies that were concieved during this project, why Hanna?
Thirdly, where the hell is the CIA? Marissa brings Hanna to them, however when she escapes the CIA doesn’t seem to care anymore. Not about a girl who killed several people and managed to escape their facility, but of the fact that Marissa has basically gone missing too! At one point an agent shows up (at first he appears to be her superior, then he takes orders from her, it is quite hard to follow!), who ends up dead because Erik shoots him. Does the CIA care that another one of their agents died? Doesn’t look like it! And lastly, my biggest problem was Isaacs. He keeps turturing people who have absolutely no reason to lie to him. There is a hotel employee who he turtures to find out where Hanna had gone that morning, and I am pretty sure that this man would’ve told him even if he just plainly asked! Hanna never asked him to keep secret where she is, seeing that she couldn’t even pay for her room and this man was nice enough to give her a bed anyways! It was almost as if he was too busy to torture him, so he forgot the question he wanted to ask and by the time he remembered the man was half dead! There are a couple things for which you really shouldn’t torture anybody. "We have been told that there is a supermarket on the corner. Which corner? TELL ME RIGHT NOW OR I’LL CHOP YOUR HEAD OFF!" So yeah… also, with the family that basically smuggled Hanna back to Europe, there is a scene where Marissa talks to them to find out where Hanna had gone or if she told them at all. Problem was that I have no idea what happened to the family afterwards. Where they killed? I hope not, seeing that they told everything they knew right away. Did Marissa let them go? She could’ve seeing that she is a CIA agent after all, not an assassin, what is the point in hurting them? However Isaacs has obvious blood stains on his shirt while he hasn’t hurt the family yet. Was that an error in editing? Or was it a message that they are going to die no matter what, so don’t even bother liking them? Or am I the only one who saw that?
I was also confused a bit by Erik who at a certain point gets into the ocean and swims to Europe... now I'm not sure if they were either near the North or the South pole, but just jumping into the water, swimming and when arriving to his destination he still beats the shit out of some cops who try to ID him was a bit off... Even if you were the swimming champion in your school, I am pretty sure you haven't eaten anything in over a week! And at some point he loses his bag... why would you do that? Did you eat it or something?
And finally I understand that there was a need to show us how Hanna experiences everything for the first time. But I believe that random shots of things that have no consequences or importance during the story are completely unneccessary. For example there is a shot of a snake in the desert when she is in Marocco. That’s wonderful, who cares? Does she eat the snake? Does she fight with it? Nope. It’s just there in case you didn’t know that there are snakes in the desert, which I am pretty sure Hanna knew, seeing that THERE WAS A WHOLE SCENE DEVOTED TO ERIK TEACHING HER ABOUT ANIMALS!!!

That said, the movie altogether is really enjoyable. If you don’t get hung up on details and you simply want to watch a good action movie then you are in for a treat! Altogether it is a pretty good movie, and as I said for the music and the actors it is totally worth it! In this video below you can check out a mix of all the songs used in the movie, but trust me, no matter how awesome they are, it is better to hear them with the movie first!

(I love you Eric Bana!)
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Hanna - Saoirse Ronan
Erik - Eric Bana
Marissa - Cate Blanchett
Isaacs - Tom Hollander
Johanna - Vicky Krieps

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