Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana
In My Own Words
Hands up those in Australia who remember Full Frontal? If you do, you know exactly what I will be talking about in this In My Own Words.
I am, of course, going to be talking about the Eric Bana which we Australians knew back in the 1990’s. The Eric Bana who was on our television screens each Thursday night at 8:30pm. No, Full Frontal wasn’t an incredibly dramatic and intense drama series, it was Australia’s answer to Saturday Night Live with its collection of send up skits. Unfortunately, the series which I so loved came to an end in 1996, but the memories of Eric Bana as the comedian lives on.
If someone had told me then that Bana was going to be one of the leading drama and action stars in Hollywood not even 10 years after the show finished, I would have been extremely confused of how anyone could take him seriously. He has definitely proved himself as a fantastic actor and I am very proud of how far our fellow Aussie has come. Yet, sometimes when I watch him in a movie, I am still expecting him to open his mouth and crack a joke or start up on of his famous impersonations as the Aussie bogan, Peter (pronounced “Poiter”), Australian television personality Ray Martin or his very funny portrayal of Tom Cruise. So Bana has gone from imitating the Hollywood heavy weights for a living, to being one of them. Ironic the way the world works out, isn’t it?
These are my own words and here is my review.
What comes to mind when you think about a film about a child assassin? Violence, confrontation, uneasiness? Most likely words of this nature and nobody could blame you for thinking this. How about if the movie starts when the “child” in question is in the latter half of her teenage years which doesn’t really make the film about a child assassin, but about a young lady who has been trained as an assassin? Therefore, Hanna is a misunderstood film and rather than creating the controversy which one thinks it would, it is quite amazing really.
Saoirse Ronan is Hanna, the sixteen year old who has been raised in the Finnish wild by her father, Erik (Eric Bana). As an ex- CIA agent, Erik has trained his daughter as soldier trained to kill. Hanna is sent into the world for the first time to travel across Europe and meet her father in Berlin. As soon as her presence is known in the outside world, she has agents on her tail wanting her dead and she comes face to face with the agent who killed her mother, Marissa (Cate Blanchett). Hanna learns what it is like to be a typical sixteen year old in the outside world and also learns who she really is.
The story of Hanna may seem disturbing to some people, but it hardly seems disturbing on screen. Sure there is violence, which is to be expected in a film about an assassin, yet the story is really played out as a piece of art. The storyline and script itself is good, but the techniques used to bring the story to the screen are far more impressive than the writing.
The cinematography is just beautiful. There are some amazing panoramic landscape shots and the editing during Hanna’s escape from the agents is brilliant. Director Joe Wright chooses some great locations for the film. The filming locations are very interesting and in the final scenes with playground equipment and the swans and wolf mouth keep everything fresh even at the end of the film. If you really want to get in depth, these images which are part of the landscape could also be seen as symbolic of the childlike innocence which has been destroyed.
In the scene when Hanna is escaping for the first time from the agents, the thrilling images are accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers. The best thing about this soundtrack is that it isn’t techno or electronic music pumping constantly throughout the film, but the sounds are mixed up depending on what is happening in the film at that point in time. One would think that the film was choreographed around the music by how well it matches up and not the other way around.
Saoirse Ronan, this young woman loves the roles that push her boundaries, and why not? She pulls them all off. As Hanna, she physically suits the role as the young girl brought up in the wild. She doesn’t really give a great deal of emotion in the scenes where it is needed, yet she is great as the girl who has never got to experience anything that a typical sixteen year old has. She also doesn’t show a tremendous amount of aggression, which one would normally expect in an assassin. There is aggression there, just not enough.
Eric Bana seems to glide through this role. Like Ronan, he doesn’t show a great amount of emotion. Yet, it is great to see him in another action role. He is a natural in this type of role and looks right at home in the action fighting sequences. Cate Blanchett is very good as the role of the evil agent. She really is quite terrifying and becomes the role with every ounce of her being.
Hanna is truly a work of art. It is visually beautiful and everything is pieced together with the greatest accuracy and care. It is always a great joy to see a film know that it is a piece of art and live up to it.