There was a press screening for HANNA a while back, I missed it due to having to be at Rehab, and right now, that comes first over everything. But I heard from friends at that screening that HANNA was incredibly great. Massawyrm was heard to exclaim that it was the best movie of 2011, thus far. And that was the prejudice that I went into the AICN screening of the film Tuesday night.
If you're not counting the Academy Award nominees that in many areas were released this year, then yeah... HANNA is totally the best 2011 release through to this early date in April.
HANNA is a very great companion film in many ways to TRUE GRIT. In that film, you had a girl that was seeking out vengeance for her father. Here you have essentially the same set up. Only, HANNA has had one singular life purpose. Kill the woman responsible for her mother's murder.
That's really all you need to know going into this. Essentially you have a Dad, training his little blonde haired blue eyed girl to be an unstoppable killing machine. This might seem ridiculous, but as the story plays out you realize that HANNA isn't a normal blonde blue eyed girl. For one, she seems to have been raised entirely in a cabin somewhere near the Arctic Circle... Killing, hunting and training to kill Cate Blanchett. She knows multiple languages, how to adapt to any situation and most of all... how to survive. There's a lot to HANNA.
But you should discover most of that in the theater. What you do need to know is that the three leads are pretty fantastic. Saoirse is amazing as HANNA - completely different from any of the many great roles she's already played. There's a curious feral nature to her. She's terribly ON MISSION, but within that mission is exposure to a million things that growing up in the Arctic without electricity... well, there's culture shock, but it isn't the kind of crazy savage girl in Urban America. Here, HANNA's journey takes her on a European and even Northern African settings.
This is BOURNE IDENTITY as a 16 year old girl story. And yet... she's a 16 year old girl and you get that. There's echos of BATTLE ANGEL ALITA here, minus all the sci-fi. Eric Bana is very very strong here as her father. Cate is a little crazy in this film, which at times feels very much like a modern Grimm's Fairy Tale. Cate is the witch that she must slay. In order to have a life, Cate must die. And she absolutely earns that throughout the film. Cate is a cunt in this film. And the folks she has as minions... scary evil fucks.
However, the best thing about the film is the family that Hanna hitches up with. The Mom & Dad are a very liberal Olivia Williams and Jason Flemyng - and they're fantastic. But Jessica Barden, their teenage daughter, who latches onto Hanna. She's amazing. And where she takes the story is awesome, the exact injection of reality that is all too often missing from these movies. All I know is I would take my daughter to see this movie before I'd take them to see the pap that is in that other HANNAH series.
My dream for HANNA is that it becomes a huge hit. Then, in 15 years, there's a sequel with Saoirse, then in another 15 years there's another. Then another 15 years... well you get the idea. I would just love to see this character, but at different stages of her life. That'd be, pretty amazing.
Joe Wright directed the incredibly great PRIDE & PREJUDICE and ATONEMENT.... HANNA is of a similar perfect quality. This is a PG 13 feature, but that's for the intensity of the action & suspense. This is that rare badass chick flick that kicks ass for all audiences. This should be your first choice for a movie this weekend. It is that great!