Hanna was another movie I received as Christmas gift, along with Dark Star, The American, and a bunch of other films of variable quality you might remember me reviewing months ago. I always intended to review Hanna as well, but I wanted to watch if again first. Only wound up taking me five months to get back to it.
And so it goes. Hanna running loose, finding out all those encyclopedia entries really didn't prepare her for actually being in the world. Marissa trying to tie up two loose ends before her bosses find out what's going on. Erik trying to stay in the background, trusting Hanna to be OK until they can meet up again. There are some interesting supporting characters we meet primarily through Hanna, so we get to see her confusion and uncertainty in how to interact with them, and how those people react to her. I quite liked the bit with Sophie's family about what Hanna's mother died of, and all her interactions with the Moroccan hotel owner. How casually she started speaking Arabic, that she finds it important to try and remember who invented electricity, but he is content to joke it was 'some American', because that specific detail isn't as important as the fact it exists.
The one part that rang false was Isaacs, the fellow Marissa brings in to hunt Hanna down. That I couldn't figure because Marissa has seen Hanna in action. Watched her snap a woman's neck and mow through a group of armed soldiers like a scythe through wheat. Near as I can tell, all Isaacs has going for him is he's a sadist. He doesn't seem like a skilled fighter or marksman, not a master of disguise or languages, or even someone with underworld connections who could set every gang in Europe on her. He just enjoys hurting people. He's a threat to ordinary people, Sophie and her family, and so he can isolate Hanna in that way, but it doesn't make him someone remotely capable of capturing her.
There's a lot of good performances in this. Ronan gives Hanna this air of energy which is normally portrayed as excitement, but it can shift to overwhelming confusion easily. Also, the fact she doesn't really know how to laugh. She just has that scream, which sounds the same whether she's enjoying a ride on a motorbike, or engaged in battle with Erik in the snow. You get the feeling that laughter, like music, is something Erik never taught her about. Even so, Bana makes it clear how much Heller cares about her, and there's a level of trust between the two characters, even when they've just had a falling out, that's touching. As for Blanchett, I'm not a huge fan of the Southern accent Marissa sometimes uses. I think it's fake, meant to get people to drop their guard (though it could be her original accent that she's purposefully hidden over the years in intelligence work), but it sounds so awful I don't see how it could work. I find it interesting that she tends to keep her gloves off when shooting people, but she kept them on throughout her recruitment of Isaacs. Then again, he flinched away from her peck on the cheek, so maybe neither one of them can tolerate the other.
One thing that surprised me on the second viewing was that I enjoyed Hanna's escape from the holding facility more. The first time I found the purposefully chopping editing, where Hanna would vanish from view then reappear, and the spinning camera disorienting. Which, based on the DVD commentary, is what Joe Wright was shooting for, but that didn't change the fact I found it confusing at the time. This time, perhaps because I was expecting it, it didn't bother me as much. I still don't like everything he does in that scene, but I do like the implication she can move a little faster than our eyes can follow. There are some other scenes that work with that (the fight amongst the shipping containers) where I thought it was used well also.
Anyway, Hanna's probably one of the better films I got out of that Christmas batch, which may not be saying much compared to such duds as Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, but it also includes Duck, You Sucker, so there's some decent competition in there.