Thursday 31 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Action · Hanna


The action-thriller ‘Hanna’ is all stylish teen angst ... with a body count.

Phil Bacharach April 6th, 2011

Life can be hard for a 16-year-old girl. Clueless parents, frenemies, boy trouble, pressure over grades, zits: The dramas are nearly Shakespearean. And that doesn’t even take into account the shadowy government agents out to get you.

That last problem is the chief one facing the title character of “Hanna,” a sleek thriller opening Friday, buoyed by smart performances and a director eager to prove his action chops.

As the story opens, Hanna (Saorise Ronan, “The Lovely Bones”) and her father, an ex-CIA agent named Erik (Eric Bana, “The Time Traveler’s Wife”), live in the snowy isolation of Scandinavia. Dad has kept Hanna from civilization and raised her as an expert in survival. She speaks several languages, has memorized encyclopedias and can deliver a serious ass-kicking.

Such skills prove useful when she decides to leave the nest. A former colleague of Erik’s, the icy and cruel Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett, “Robin Hood”), has made it her life’s mission to track down Hanna. What follows is a global chase as the trio cuts zigzag paths before converging at an abandoned amusement park in Berlin.

Feature-debuting screenwriters Seth Lochhead and David Farr offer tantalizing dribbles of information as Hanna and Marissa close in on one another. What is the relationship between the three? What does Marissa want with the girl? And why is Hanna so damned good at killing people?

Along the way, Hanna hitches a ride with a British family touring Morocco. For the girl, who knows her way with a gun but can be overwhelmed by a TV or teakettle, the clan provides a glimpse into a curiously loving world. Hanna develops an affecting friendship with Sophie (Jessica Barden, “Tamara Drewe”), a teenager with decidedly nonlethal preoccupations.

Why is she so damned good at killing people?

Director Joe Wright packs “Hanna” with wit, style and a clockmaker’s precision. He deftly calibrates between scenes of emotional intensity and visceral action, the latter of which is staged with a rare clarity, given today’s penchant for hyper-editing.

Wright has particular fun with set pieces. In a single, uninterrupted shot, he follows Bana from a bus station to an underground garage, where he is attacked by a group of government agents. It’s an eye-popping bit of filmmaking similar to a stunt he pulled of in “Atonement.” The stylistic flourishes are occasionally excessive; a propulsive score by The Chemical Brothers alternates between exhilaration and distraction.

The movie is not just bells and whistles. Ronan imbues the enigmatic Hanna with an otherworldliness that doesn’t obscure the girl’s vulnerability. Blanchett is delightfully nefarious, while Bana does the most with an underwritten role. And Bardem supplies some welcome humor.

“Hanna” ultimately adds up to something a bit less than its parts, perhaps inevitable when the questions and buildup are more interesting than the eventual revelation. Still, a lot of movies have third-act stumbles, and “Hanna” manages better than most. This is one case of teen angst well worth catching.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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