McCoy on Movies: Hanna Movie Review PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tabari McCoy   
Monday, 11 April 2011 09:19

McCoy on Movies: Hanna Movie Review
How could an action thriller with an Academy Award nominee and an Academy Award winner be one of the worst movies our reviewer has seen in years? Read on to find out.
"I spend a lot of my time running, looking ghostly and emotionless ... These are a few of my favorite things!" Saoirse Ronan finds herself on the run from her pursuers as the title character in director Joe Wright's action thriller HANNA.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Jessica Barden and John MacMillan


WRITER: Seth Lochhead (screenplay) & David Farr; Seth Lochhead (story by)


DIRECTOR: Joe Wright




THE PLOT: Directed by Joe Wright, Hanna stars Academy Award Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) in the title role. Hanna, 16, has been raised in the woods of North Finland according to the film's production notes - I say according to the notes because the film never specifies - is a book smart teen who is also an excellent hunter and extremely skilled in self-defense. In essence, she has been trained to be the perfect assassin, which is exactly what her widowed father Erik (Eric Bana) has trained her to become. They leave peacefully out in the woods of Northern Finland, as they have for the majority of her life and will likely continue to do so.


There's just one thing - Erik tells Hanna that if she flips a button on a box in what equates to their living room, she will have to fend for herself and he will not be able to protect her. And then one day - for reasons unbeknownst to anyone - Hanna flips the switch.


Once she does, Marissa Wiegler (Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett), a U.S. agent (her agency, while never clarified, seems to be the C.I.A.), is hot on Hanna and Erik's trail. With Erik apparently listed as a threat to the USA, he has to be captured ... The true prize, however, is Hanna. But if Marissa thinks that capturing her is going to be easy, she's got another thing coming - and she better hope that thing isn't Hanna.


THE TAKE: Here are a couple things I need to say before you continue reading the rest of this review. One, if you hate spoilers, stop HERE. Second, if you are determined to see this film, do NOTBourne Supremacy type of flick. Third, I considered walking out of this film three (3) times and the other critic sitting next to me thought I was going to before I told her I thought about it after the movie. And last but not least, if you are a fan of The Chemical Brothers, you're going to hate me for the next few paragraphs. say I didn't warn you that is not some female


Thus, if you haven't picked up on it, I hated - HATED! - Hanna ... And if you like it, while I will not say I hate you, I will say I have a vastly different opinion of what makes for a good action movie than you do. Now, on to my rants ...


[1] Plausibility - Hanna has one of the worst cases of bad plausibility I've seen in quite some time. You mean to tell me this 16 year-old girl, who speaks flawless Arabic among several other languages, can trek across countries throughout Europe with no ID and could probably win a UFC fight given her training is also the same girl who at one point in the movie is scared of electricity, a tea pot in particular?! It's not like she learned how to drive a car or anything living in the woods? She also knows what a kiss is ... Yet nearly locks a teenage boy into a cross armbar when he tries to plant one on her AFTER she asks if he going to? And a pale, blonde girl with blue eyes just making her way through Morocco with no trouble going unnoticed? To quote Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad OchoCinco, "Child please!" And believe me when I tell you, the film does NOTHING to make you believe Hanna is truly this elusive.


Also, if you had someone tell you "If you flip this switch, people are going to come after you and chase you," would you flip the switch? I mean, EVER?! How about this - why in the hell does Bana's character have a DIRECT connection to the very person who has been chasing him for several years so that once the switch is flipped, she can come after you and your daughter?! I mean, if I owed the IRS tax money, do you think I would go on the run but take a cell phone pre-programmed with a number I could call at any point in time in my life to tell them "Here I am ... Come get me!"


To quote a popular hip-hop expression, "**** outta here with that ********!"


These may seem like small things reading them, but in the larger context of the film, trust me, they make sense. I mean, it's not like I mentioned Erik Bana's character swimming, apparently from Finland to Berlin, Germany - is that even possible in reality?! - Or Cate Blanchett's character basically having the power to be judge, jury and executioner and cover up more secret business than Richard Nixon tried to during Watergate. That's why she has to hire three Germans, of course, to do her dirty work, who she just knows where to meet - once again, never specified - who are of course able to track her down as easy it is to find a McDonald's. (More on the Germans in a minute ...)


[2] Poor characters - Hanna has some of the worst characters in an action movie in quite some time to the point it makes The Expendables look like True Grit by comparison. Cate Blanchett's bad Cruella de Vil impression mixed with a horrible, "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers" Southern accent is beyond ridiculous ... But it is only outdone by Tom Hollander's jaw-droppingly bad performance as Isaacs, who is best described as having the fashion sense of Reno 911's Lt. Jim Dangle mixed with the over-the-top, ringmaster-style club owner Castor in the recently released on Blu-Ray/DVD in Tron: Legacy ... With the worst German accent possibly ever seen in quite some time. As a friend of mine sitting next to me who has German bloodlines said, "I'm offended" - and I'm (far as know) have no German in me whatsoever!


Oh yeah - It's not just the adults. Sophie, the obnoxious teenager played by Jessica Barden, is a classic "teen who is smarter than her dumb parents" character, right down to the outfit that is just is loud as her mouth. And let's not even get into the scene that should be nominated for "creepiest tender moment between two teenage girls on screen this year" ... Although that segues perfectly into ...


[3] Lack of attention to basic details - Sure, there are plenty of things I could put here such as Blanchett's aforementioned accent and demeanor, any and all things involving Hollander ... But I'll just reserve this for things such as the dialogue (corny, stale and dramatic in tone for the sake of trying to be edgy), the actual acting - Ronan outshines everyone, and she really didn't shine since all her character has to do is speak very clearly with a faint sense of ego/innocence in her voice - and the plot, which at this point in time has been done to death. I mean, really, do we need another 'Man/woman trained to become an assassin is now being hunted by the very agency that trained them" flick? Especially when it's this lame?


As if some of the settings where the "drama" - which consists of a lot of running - takes place weren't bad enough, the soundtrack is standard issue, too. Not sure when you're supposed to feel tense? Let the music play! It doesn't set the mood, it just helps to ruin it - want to know why? This clip by comedian Pablo Francisco should help explain what your brain will feel like throughout the extended abuse of the Chemical Brothers' potentially seizure-inducing tunes.


Throw in an unfulfilling, give up-style ending and you have the makings of a movie that tries too hard to be edgy and thrilling and instead ends up become a word that rhymes with "mustertruck" ... (This is a family-friendly movie column, so figure that out for yourself!)


PARTING SHOT: You want a parting shot? Well considering that there is NOTHING original in Hanna except for how bad it is, the only shot this movie should take is one that prevents a sequel from being released.



Credit: Focus Features. © 2011 Focus Features. All Rights Reserved.

Tabari McCoy -

Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. You can check out more of his work on his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy


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