Forgotten Friday Flick – “Hanna”

With Wonder Woman looking to kick a little cinematic ass this weekend, it felt right to explore a past picture with equal amounts of feisty female hand-to-hand combat but for the pint size set – welcome to Forgotten Friday Flick!  Having already covered the likes of Anne Parillaud in La Femme Nikita and Melanie Griffith in Cherry 2000 as some of my favorite movie mavens with moxie, a flick about a gal who proves that big action can come in small packages from 2011 then immediately came to mind.  It’s a tale of a child who has grown up and trained with a singular focus that is suddenly thrust out into the real world filled with love, hate and human monsters.  Think on your feet, adapt or die and check out the action awesomeness of…Hanna.

Young teenage girl Hanna lives with her rough and tumble widowed father Erik in a remote jungle in Finland.  Hanna spends her days training, as she perfects her skills in weapons, hand-to-hand combat and hunting becoming an extremely lethal soldier.  But like all teenage girls, Hanna has thoughts of the outside world that eludes her and soon her father decides it’s time to leave the nest.  Trained since birth for a singular mission involving the death of her mother, Hanna embarks upon a task that tests her physical as well as mental and emotional skills in a wild trip that takes her off the beaten path that changes everything.

A succinct synopsis for sure, but I’m not giving any more hints or secrets away for the uninitiated.  As a film, Hanna is much like the journey the young heroine embarks on –an experience.  From the in-your-face action to the subtle moments of a teenage girl exploring a first time friendship, the picture is a wondrous blend of elements usually reserved for films of different genres.  But in the hands of Atonement helmer Joe Wright who is very familiar with the story constructs of viable characters within grandiose settings, Hanna boldly mixes his subtle coming of story with blood, beauty and bravado in both dialogue and visuals to create a concoction that lovingly lingers.  Not to mention that his use and infusion of the pulse-pounding score by the The Chemical Brothers adds yet another loving layer to a film ripe with many – Hanna both looks and sounds great.

But Wright also has a knack for pitch perfect casting and in Hanna it especially shows – from Eric Bana as Hanna’s disheartened dad (some of his best work!) to Tom Hollander as a flamboyant psychotic for hire (“run little piggy!”) and especially Cate Blanchett (making up for that god awful turn in the last Indy flick!) as a corrupt intelligence operative determined to kill, everyone involved makes Hanna one memorable flick.

But ultimately it’s Saoirse Ronan’s turn as the lovely yet lethal teen that makes Hanna a winner.  Her captivating work, brutal one moment, sweet and naïve the next, reminded me of Natalie Portman’s performance in Luc Besson’s The Professional – work that screams star quality.

In the end the hard core action of Hanna may not be for everyone, as there is as much visceral and violent material as there is beautiful and fanciful (even the poster is misleading, giving the impression of a dramatic story about a simple child!), but ultimately that’s what gives Hanna its charm and separates it from the pack.  Far from the trite that Hollywood loves, much more than an indie simply trying to be hip, this is pure imaginative cinema for those with a more fully developed cinematic palate – Hanna is a girl well beyond her years.


I'm a passionate and opinionated film critic/movie journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing about film - now exclusively for WhySoBlu.com. Previous sites include nine years at Starpulse.com where I created Forgotten Friday Flick back in 2011, before that as Senior Entertainment Editor for The213.net and 213 Magazine, as well as a staff writer for JoBlo.com. My other love is doing cool events for the regular guy with my company Flicks For Fans alongside my friend, partner and Joblo.com writer James "Jimmy O" Oster. Check us out at www.Facebook.com/FlicksForFans.

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