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they grow up so fast...

PG-13

Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jessica Barden

Sebastian:  So, Hanna, is your mom and dad still together?
Hanna:  My mother is dead.
Sophie:  Niiiice one dad.
Sebastian:  I’m sorry to hear that.  I lost my mom when I was very young, so…
Hanna:  It’s alright, it happened a long time ago.
Rachel:  Hanna…what did your mom die of?
Hanna:  Three bullets.

Hanna (Ronan) is a 16 year old girl who has been secluded in the forest for most of her life and trained by her father (Bana) to be a deadly, and very intelligent, assassin.  She believes she is ready to leave seclusion and face the dangers that await her.  Dangers in the form of Marissa (Blanchett), an agent who has a past association with Hanna’s father.  Once she’s out in the world, Hanna starts to discover all kinds of new things and new people, but there’s not much time to enjoy it when you’re being pursued by ruthless special agents…

First of all, how was Joss Whedon not involved in this?  A teenage girl beating people up all over the place?  That’s, like…his thing!

Secondly, I really wanted to like this one more than I did.

Not that I disliked it.  It’s just…it was so good at times that the lesser aspects of it really stood out.

Some of the character motivations weren’t very strong.  For instance, why was Marissa so hell bent on killing everybody and everything in her way just to get to Hanna?  Why such an attachment?  Cate Blanchett was definitely good and creepy as the villain, but I never really felt like I knew here character very well.  Same with Eric Bana as…Erik, Hanna’s sorta dad.  His history is a bit of a mystery too.  There are some explanations, to be sure, but those are more about events rather than emotions and motivations.  The movie tells us there are emotions there, but doesn’t really show all of them.

I guess all of that would be okay if it didn’t leave the ending of the movie feeling so emotionally hollow.  Of course it ends with a series of chases, even culminating at a sort of abandoned carnival type place (one of multiple movie cliches featured in this one).  There’s no real emotional resolution, and when the title popped up again at the end (kind of out of the blue like in INSIDIOUS), I was left thinking, “…that’s it?”  Okay, there’s a pile of corpses, but…so what?

Like I said, though, there are good parts.  The performances are all top notch, especially Saoirse Ronan as Hanna.  She’s sort of a more realistic version of Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass.  The script may occasionally drag her out of character, but her performance is always good.  It’s a physically demanding role, and she seems up to the challenge.

Thankfully, Cate Blanchett isn’t as over the top as she was in the recent Indiana Jones disaster.  She’s just as ruthless, but much more grounded in reality.  Though, not above threatening little children.

Stylistically, the movie is kinetic without venturing into Tony Scott territory, thankfully.  Plus, it’s not afraid to slow down for some touching, quiet moments, like when Hanna befriends the daughter in the family she latches onto as she flees her pursuers.  There are some good moments spent with that family.

All in all, I felt like a good premise and a quality first 2/3 of a movie were a little wasted on an ending that just fizzles out.  I would have liked to have seen more communication and resolution between the characters rather than just another typical chase/shoot-out.

Is it that hard to write an ending to a movie?  Maybe I should try it some time…

HANNA!

Trying to scientifically manipulate humans into perfect killing machines never ends well…

10 – 1.5 for the lackluster ending – 1 for a few moments, mostly regarding Hanna’s character, that didn’t really make sense = 7.5

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