Saturday, 5 May 2012
Review: 'Hanna' (2011)
I can't really think of much to say about this film - it's not that I don't like it (3/5 is what I'd consider a Good film), it's just that the plot is fairly straightforward and obvious. I don't mean that in a bad way - it's simple in the same way The Avengers was simple - it doesn't need to be that complex. It's very atmospheric and the characters are compelling. Well, the good characters are; the Bad Guys couldn't be more cliche to be honest. But again, with the focus on Saoirse Ronan (who gives a great performance) it's not too much of an issue.
The subject material is clearly about empowerment and fighting for your right to exist. It deals with this very well in the beginning, when the issue isn't directly addressed but rather the focus is on survival in its rawest sense. But once things get going, it seems like style is chosen over substance. There are just a few plot-points that don't ring true for me and secondary characters seem forgotten about near the end.
Unfortunately, for an action film, there's not much action (that was my issue with the first Underworld movie). The action - when it comes - is fairly standard as well. Some great moves in there, but nothing to write home about - there's no real reason for us to care about the faceless grunts Hanna is dispatching.
The ending, while obvious, shows a hint of redemption for the film. However, the movie stops abruptly. If you catch this film on DVD, I recommend checking out the 'Alternate Ending' which actual seems to be a scene which, once tagged onto the film's current ending, makes for a far better, more-rounded conclusion to the story.
It's like I know what Hanna is trying to do, but it doesn't quite do it. A message is clearly there, and the potential for action is plentiful. But all this reminds me of a better film entitled Serenity (Joss Whedon's 2005 movie spinoff from TV show Firefly), which also deals with the idea of a young weapon taking on those who created her. Serenity tackles things head-on, whereas Hanna seems to side-step the issue. I want more emotion, more gritty action, more of the drama that is seen near the film's close in a brilliant scene between father and daughter. But it just ain't there!
I realise it sounds like I hate this film, but I don't. The story really appeals to me and the acting is spot-on (for the most part). The first half is near-flawless and shows real promise for the film as a whole, but the second half dissolves into stylish quirkiness that wants to imitate the chase-and-fight style of The Bourne Identity.
Overall, it's worth checking out, but expect to be peeved at a fair amount of unfulfilled potential.
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Posted by Neil