“Hanna” – Fairy Tale
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Whoa! Kids today. In “Hanna,” the 16-year-old girl named in the movie’s title, is the perfect assassin. Her dad has trained her to kill people.
Some fans are comparing Hanna to Hit-Girl in “Kick-Ass.” But this one is played straight while the other was a satiric comedy.
This new action thriller is currently kicking ass at the Tropic Cinema.
You see, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) has been trained by her dad (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA agent, to be a perfect killing machine. In the snowy isolation of Finland he rehearses her in stealth and weaponry and ruthless resolve until she’s ready to be sent on her mission. The idea is for Hanna to get to a high-level spook (Cate Blanchett) by getting caught. Then unleashing her well-choreographed fury. But this deadly assignment is blindsided by secrets on all sides.
You’ve recently seen Saoirse Ronan in “The Way Home.” Before that “Atonement.” And she was the young victim in “The Lovely Bones.”
However, she’s no victim in “Hanna.” Watching this child perform like a junior James Bond with a license to kill is startling. Something almost primitive in her flinty-eyed acts of violence.
Yet, director Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “The Soloist”) says, “I don't think I would describe it as an action movie. It's a fairy tale, action movie, drama ... It’s a really difficult movie to describe.”
He tries. “There’s an atmosphere to it that is somehow surreal and it almost comes from the subconscious. Like fairy tales do, they deal with archetypes and the film characters are very much archetypal characters. Eric Bana being the strong father like the woodcutter and Blanchett's character is very much the wicked witch, wearing the red and green. There’s kind of a darkness to those fairy tales that I always appreciated. It’s quite a dark film in a couple of ways.”
Screenwriter Seth Lochhead agrees. The Canadian-born newbie wrote the script for “Hanna” while attending Vancouver Film School. Then he headed off to Tinseltown.
But there he had to find a day job. Having paid his rent by serving latte to famous Hollywood execs, Lochhead is now known as “the coffee shop phenom that launched into Hollywood’s upper stratus from oblivion.” After sending out emails to more than 400 agents, producers, managers, executives, and assistants, he got back only two requests to see his script.
“I wrapped my script in a manila envelope, sent it down to Culver City, and spent the next day and a half throwing up,” he recalls. “All you need is one yes. I got my yes and I’ve had the year of my life… I also have insomnia and a slight addiction to caffeine but it’s been fun.”
He adds, “So at this point I have an agent, a manager, and, lest I forget, a great lawyer. I’m paying out 25% of my income and I haven’t made a dime. But I’m living the dream (minus the coke and the whores and the money in general). I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Director Joe Wright did. Latching onto the fairy-tale elements of the story, he cast Saoirse Ronan, the young Irish actress he’d worked with in “Atonement.” He saw this as a fable of a young girl maturing and losing her innocence. In short, a coming-of-age thriller.
[from Solares Hill]