Review

Harry feels HANNA is like MATHILDA by way of RUN LOLA RUN & kind of family friendly!

Published at: April 8, 2011, 12:05 a.m. CST

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!

Readers Talkback

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  • April 8, 2011, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Post 0

    by HEADGEEK

    Here's my HANNA review...

  • April 8, 2011, 12:29 a.m. CST

    Was at the Alamo screening Tuesday

    by Xionsmith

    Very enjoyable film. Going to pay to see it again.

  • April 8, 2011, 12:38 a.m. CST

    I'd like to see a sequel to THE PROFESSIONAL.

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

    Leon, to the non-Americans.

  • April 8, 2011, 12:43 a.m. CST

    Agreed-Mathilda NEEDS to happen...

    by Jobacca

    I would love it if Natalie Portman and Luc Besson would team up and finally make that sequel. It would be fascinating to see where that character wound up as an adult. And yeah,Hanna looks good-I'll be checking it out next week.

  • April 8, 2011, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Soloman Kane and Alitriste arrived on dvd today.

    by antonphd

    I'm watching these movies tonight, then waking up to watch Hanna and Your Highness. Sometimes, life is just... good.

  • April 8, 2011, 1:02 a.m. CST

    michael bay needs to watch this movie...

    by gaygoonie

    so he can see how action should be shot and edited.

  • April 8, 2011, 1:04 a.m. CST

    MATHILDA is better left imagined...

    by Grasscutter

    probably. LEON is one of those movies that's almost perfect. There's no way the reality of MATHILDA will live up to the sequel you've wanted about since the original.

  • April 8, 2011, 1:56 a.m. CST

    Re: antonphd

    by Raggles Wimpole

    Seriously? I have been dying to see 'Solomon Kane' for God knows how long. The guy who directed this is currently directing the next "Silent Hill" movie. "Silent Hill" is one of the few good videogames movies so I have high hopes for the sequel.

  • April 8, 2011, 2:47 a.m. CST

    "Here's my Hanna review"

    by D.Vader

    Oh REALLY? Thanks for pointing that out for us, Harry!

  • April 8, 2011, 2:47 a.m. CST

    Anyway, I *really* wanna see this movie

    by D.Vader

    But I'd rather see Mathilda first.

  • April 8, 2011, 3:18 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    MATHILDA, the one with Danny De Vito and that Russian shot putter teacher who hurls kids? That movie?

  • April 8, 2011, 4:57 a.m. CST

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  • April 8, 2011, 4:57 a.m. CST

    saadf

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  • April 8, 2011, 6:59 a.m. CST

    The big question

    by aceldama

    Does Hanna call anyone cunts?

  • April 8, 2011, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Little girls actually want to go see this, which they should

    by Terrence

    I actually heard some, "Mom, I want to see that" comments during this trailer a couple weeks back. If they got an interest, hook 'em up.

  • April 8, 2011, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Other way around...

    by Candice

    I almost totally agree with this review, except for the fact that Hanna is trying to save her own life. Eric Bana trained her to be able to protect herself from Cate Blanchette's character. Hanna's mission isn't to kill her, it's to stay alive. I think that makes a difference in keeping Hannah's image still innocent throughout the movie. Blanchette's character is willing to kill everyone in Hanna's family to get to her. And Hannah wasn't on a mission for revenge. Cate Blanchette killed Hanna's mother in an attempt to kill Hanna as an infant. It really is a great movie!

  • April 8, 2011, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Thanks for spoiling the movie, xiolableu

    by Bobo_Vision

  • April 8, 2011, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Trailer does no justice...

    by D4rkkn1gh787

    ...at all. Caught it at the AICN event and was pleasantly surprised. Tom Hollander was astounding and hands down one of the best scores in recent memory.

  • April 8, 2011, 12:35 p.m. CST

    colossalgoatfuck69 - Solomon Kane

    by antonphd

    I bought the dvd through Amazon. I watched it last night and I love it: however, I understand why it hasn't found US distribution. Frankly, it's too slow for mass US audiences. And by slow I mean it's a solid 5 on a 1-10 scale of slow to fast where Blade Runner is a 1, Indiana Jones is a 10 and The Rock is a 15. It's not the effects heavy film the trailers make it out to be. It's nothing like Van Helsing or the Mummy movies. Personally, I love the movie and I'll certainly watch it periodically over the years. It's not ground breaking, but it's solid fantasy adventure and I love fantasy adventure movies.

  • April 8, 2011, 12:41 p.m. CST

    HANNAH

    by THE_CHOPPAH

    Watched that again recently. The first hour is still really good. But I had forgotten how much it descends into a big-budget A-Team episode by the end...rather dull extended shootouts with clunky editing. I guess that marked the moment where Cate Blanchett's destiny lay in movies that were more about action than drama, for much of the next decade. I was so hopeful when Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out that it heralded the return of both Blanchett and Ford as genuinely dramatic actors. But it was a false dawn for both.

  • April 8, 2011, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Looking forward to this...

    by Andrew Coleman

    Hopefully seeing this over the weekend.

  • Maybe Mathilda gets caught in France, and is then picked up by the same government organization that trained Nikita in La Femme Nikita.

  • April 8, 2011, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Looking forward to this!

    by ComSamVimes

    This one was completely off my radar till about 3 days ago. Sounds like a blast! People are saying "it's nothing new", and I take that as a good thing. Not every movie neecs to have something to prove. One of my favs of the last few years was "Taken". Again, nothing new, but a whole lot of fun.

  • April 8, 2011, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Hanna is an organic Terminator...

    by zinc_chameleon

    that Eric Bana is doing his best to protect. I got the drift from the genetic assay: she's some sort of new Super Soldier and her genetic mother is Cate Blanchett's character. Her other mother was a surrogate of some sort, who was part of the same experiment that Bana is. Sorry to ruin it for you, guys, but it's pretty obvious.

  • April 8, 2011, 5:54 p.m. CST

    dont mean to sound negative about this, but...

    by chronicallydepressedlemming

    How can she 'adapt to any situation' if shes been isolated from the rest of the world all her life? I don't see how that would be possible.

  • April 8, 2011, 8:10 p.m. CST

    Grimm's Fairy Tales

    by SutureSelf

    Virtually every review I've read of this movie has invoked Grimm's Fairy Tales. I don't believe this is a coincidence. Did the press packet raise the comparison?

  • April 9, 2011, 2:15 a.m. CST

    saoirse

    by Ciderman

    Have to say that, here in the old country of Ireland, we're mighty proud of Saoirse, possibly on track to be the finest actress this country has produced.

  • April 9, 2011, 6:03 a.m. CST

    Saoirse Ronan is going to be a hot woman.

    by sighborg

    In looks, talent, and personality. Plus her accent defines the line "the lilt of Irish laughter". An Irish combo of Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett.

  • April 9, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Saw it last night and it was amazing. It's been a long

    by CreasyBear

    time since I've seen a movie that hits that sweet spot, where action and intensity converge with a filmmaker who actually takes pride in his work. The acting, the casting, the editing, the direction, all of it comes together beautifully. I was a little worried going in, though, because my girlfriend was going and we ended up taking her 11 year old daughter. I didn't know how edgy the movie would get, but she was fine, despite the fact the film doesn't pull many punches.

  • April 9, 2011, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Horrible, boring piece of garbage. SPOILERS

    by QuiGonnDucard

    Just because you have The Chemical Brothers score your movie, does every set piece have to be contrived as a music video? The movie plods along until you hear another CB song and then suddenly kicks into gear with an "important" scene. It's a predictable plot crammed into a half-ass attempt to be Run Lola Run. In one scene, Hanna is bewildered by electricity and television. In the next, she's in a cybercafe using Google to learn the intricacies of DNA modification. She's been trained as a killer her entire life, yet she can't hit the heart. Twice. The movie is horseshit plain and simple. Joe Wright sucks.

  • April 9, 2011, 11:50 a.m. CST

    I feel like this might be the first overrated film of the year...

    by Kavalier

    I enjoy huge action films. I enjoy slow character-driven dramas. But this film tries to meld the two in a way that I feel is unsuccessful. It's trying to be important and cool at the same two and ends up doing both with only mediocre results. I just felt like I didn't really care about any of the characters in the movie. I was really looking forward to this but I was slightly letdown. It's not a bad movie by any stretch, but I'd prefer to spend my money on seeing something else rather than see this again. And yeah, as quigonnducard noted, the music distracts from the movie and almost seems out of place at times. It was a good-sounding soundtrack, just utilized a bit too much for scenes that didn't need it.

  • April 9, 2011, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Really?

    by robert

    I understand the love for a really great film, I really do, but this ain't it by a longshot. Great start to the film which gives you hope that you haven't wasted your money. From the second Hanna breaks the first neck and escapes the underground holding area though it delves into something less substantial. The filler is needed, but not for such a long period that it drags the film all the way down. The pace seemed off and the ending is identical to the beginning of the film, albeit with the villian on the ground as opposed to the Elk. I guess this was a cute wink they thought would go over well with the audience. Instead it illicted groans from almost every movie goer in the theatre. While I never mind an artsy project at the theatre, I feel this one posed as something else to get you to buy the ticket and then while you sat restlessly hoping the big scenes were coming, the studio was lifting cash from your wallet. Saoirse Ronan was fantastic in the role of Hanna, Eric Bana was fantastic, Cate Blachet did a great job, even the girl playing Hanna's friend seemed pitch perfect in acting, but this heap needs to be buried with the likes of other films that have brought you in, only to rip your movie loving soul from your chest in the process. People thought this was a great film? Really? You want great, go buy "The Professional" or "Leon: The Professional" on DVD/Blu Ray.

  • April 9, 2011, 7:09 p.m. CST

    Wasn't that good, but I did LOVE the train station fight

    by CountryBoy

    The movie overall just seemed kind of dumb, and much of it was filmed in a fairly pedestrian way -- surprising, considering how much was made of Wright's visuals. The chase in the tunnels was cool, and again, that fight in the underground was fantastic; but the rest was sort of a typical "evil agency pursues unstoppable hero" story. I'm not sure why people are so excited about this.

  • April 9, 2011, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Haha how predictable are some of these TB "reviews"

    by Andrew Coleman

    Positive reviews always lead to negative reviews in the TB. I thought Hannah rocked and was a breath of fresh air. Studios don't have balls to make flicks like this so I found the film refreshing.

  • April 9, 2011, 9:49 p.m. CST

    RE: The Professional / Leon sequel

    by seign

    I always imagined that Matilda got her life back together and "lived happily ever after" after going to the boarding school at the end. Maybe I'm too much of an optimist though. Even if she did go on to be an assassin, the thing that made Leon great was, well, Leon and the chemistry between him and Matilda. A sequel with just Matilda would be nothing but a typical action movie and could never possible be half as good as the original. I'm biased though as Leon is in my top 10 movies of all time list.

  • April 9, 2011, 10:50 p.m. CST

    myphdisdoom

    by Kavalier

    Isn't it possible though that other people have opinions? I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really wish I had caught the same magic from it that you did. However, I'm not here trashing your opinion. I definitely see lots of people trash movies on the talkbacks simply just be a contrarian, but please do not assume that just because someone said they didn't particularly care for it, that their opinion matters less than anyone else's. As a side note, I waited in line for two hours to be able to see this at an advanced preview (on Tuesday in SF). That's how excited I was to see it. Again, I really wanted to like the heck out of this thing.

  • April 10, 2011, 1:44 a.m. CST

    I just missed your heart

    by antonphd

    great movie

  • April 10, 2011, 2:07 a.m. CST

    Not to be cynical...

    by HansBubi

    ...I do want to see Hanna, and I'll probably see it next weekend, but I'm curious how much of the immediate love/hype going toward this movie is due to 1 or 2 memorable/cool sequences and its score by The Chemical Brothers. I've avoided reading any in-depth reviews, yet almost every reader review I've skimmed has mentioned a single long take and the soundtrack.

  • April 10, 2011, 6:51 a.m. CST

    Mathilda

    by Duck of Death

    I agree that Mathilda probably didn't become an assassin - her going back to school, to me, signified that she decided to rejoin the world and her desire to be an assassin was mostly due to her need to survive and her adoration of and desire to emulate Leon. However, I could maybe imagine a sequel where she's living a happy life with a kid, and something happens to threaten her family, compelling her into action. I dunno, though - the script would have to be awesome to overcome such a cheesy premise. It seems like the genius of the original was a perfect cast and novel premise. Lightning would have to strike twice to keep it from being an utterly ordinary bore.

  • April 10, 2011, 8:42 a.m. CST

    This sounds almost like Batgirl/Cassandra Cain.

    by yamayama

    If i was a Warner Bros exec i would be seeing if Hanna has taken any of the continuity of the modern Batgirl comic with Cassandra Cain has the mask. And Bana's part sounds awfully familiar has Cains father David Cain who got his clock cleaned good by The Bat. Puckett & Scott will be fuming over this me thinks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassandra_Cain

  • April 10, 2011, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Hanna could make a living...

    by Hipshot

    in a dozen different ways: assassin, bodyguard, translator (speaks five languages!), nanny, thief, or just a job. She's super-emancipatible. Any girl who can do what she does would have no problem adjusting in the city. She is clearly trained to be an assassin, not just survive: she triggers the beacon so that they will come for her, so that she can kill Blanchett. Otherwise, she could have just blended into the world, and no one would have ever known who she was or what she looked like. There are like 100 million other women who look like her, and Blanchett had limited resources (her bosses didn't even want her going after Hanna!) my love of the movie comes from terrific acting, fight scenes, and believable human drama (given the context). The music kicked ass, too. Just a superior action movie.

  • April 10, 2011, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Two-Thirds Good

    by garfinkel

    I thought the first 2/3rds of HANNA was fairly amazing. It then lapsed into a bit of cliche and silliness. Still, it is worth seeing for the great parts.

  • Not being negative but I just don't wanna see AICN over hype something, especially when it's not truly good film. Yes it was entertaining and worth the price of admission and better then a lot of crap that is peddled to us by studios but it shouldn't be hyped as a good movie.

  • April 11, 2011, 3:34 p.m. CST

    @mattman So what? You want a cookie?

    by OandA

    so? movies do this all the time. and it worked quite hell for hanna.

  • April 12, 2011, 10:29 p.m. CST

    turns out the actor who looked so familiar to me in this

    by r_kelly

    was HITLER in Inglourious Basterds. my mind is blown.

  • I mean really is this all it takes to get you guys to love a movie? It's okay but needed more original ideas. It's a pretty basic super human on the run from secret agent flick. Watch Kick Ass if you want to see a little girl doing R rated action. The Professional for a more heart felt story or Hanna for something that's not quite either or.

  • April 13, 2011, 1:43 p.m. CST

    antonphd

    by AsimovLives

    That's awesome. SOLOMON KANE and ALATRISTE are very different movies from one another, but both kicked my ass. In the best way possible. Word of advise, watch ALATRISTE in the origjnal spanish language (it's a spanish movie, after all). Really, that's one mighty fine evening at the movies you will have.

  • April 13, 2011, 1:48 p.m. CST

    O'll only get to see HANNA on July 7th! Fucking fuck!!

    by AsimovLives

  • April 13, 2011, 2:40 p.m. CST

    The PG13 rating really made this one feel stripped down.

    by knowthyself

    Also the girl who played Hannah's best friend was annoying as shit. How could two hippy parents have a paris hilton tween? This money was just Bourne Identity with a little girl and that's not as interesting as it sounds. I'm still scratching my head over what AICN critics are fawning over with this one. It's generic and doesn't suck but that doesn't mean it's really all that great.

  • April 14, 2011, 4:43 a.m. CST

    "How could two hippy parents have a paris hilton tween?"

    by AsimovLives

    In this time and age? Too easily!

  • April 14, 2011, 4:55 a.m. CST

    mattman

    by AsimovLives

    Ther eis one thing we must take into account about the movie LEON (THE PROFESSIONAL): It's a french movie. Yeah, it's set in the USA, it's an english language film, and it mostly stars english speaking actors (americans and english). But the movie is wholesome french. and it makes a difference. LEON was made for the french market, believe it or not, though it also had aspirations for the intenrational market, which is why it's spoken in english. It had been Luc Besson's ambition to make frenhc movies with intenrational projection, this is why all his movies since SUBWAY are spoken in english, with the exception being ANGEL-A in which he went native again. I think we can't exepct that a movie produced in Holywood would had the same off-beat mood and dramatic verve that a french production can. We all have sene things in movies in which american productions made in Holywood have enormous hang-ups that movies made in many other coutnries just don't have. Holywood's problem is that it tries to please too many different people. Their movies suffer from that, specially the PG-13 rated.As we say here in my country, you can't please both the greeks and the trojans.

  • April 26, 2011, 1:02 p.m. CST

    This movie sucked.

    by jimmy_009

    Someone needs to say it. It was poorly written, bizarrely directed and acted, and had way too many loose threads and plot holes. Style over substance.

  • Sept. 19, 2011, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Cate Blanchet STUNK in this movie

    by Knobules

    Her southern drawl was embarraing.