Movie Review: “Hanna”

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 at 11:00 am.

(Photo: Focus Features)

Summary: Hanna is a trained assassin, but her unique back-story is something she was not prepared for. She is on the run and will eventually confront her mysterious past.

Review: Salt, Colombiana, Hanna — it’s all the same story: a girl on the run has a deadly mission, which generally includes revenge. Evelyn Salt was a Russian transplant played by a steely Angelina Jolie. Colombiana featured Zoe Saldana as a Dominican Republic native hunting down the evil man who killed her family.  In the thriller directed by Joe Wright, the newest assassin is a a 16-year-old girl named Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan) from Finland.

Girl-on-the-run films are predictable. And despite some unexpected plot turns, Hanna is no different. Knowing the story before it ends, what viewers truly want is high-powered action, but Hanna does not deliver. The Focus Features film is imbalanced — just where it needs more action, like when Hanna finds a bestie and her life suddenly morphs into an episode of Gossip Girl, the story packs on “teen dream” drama. When the action hits its peak, you aren’t quite clear about the storyline or the conflict. Nonetheless, Hanna loosely ties itself together at the end.

Hanna shines most in the strong casting. Ronan as Hanna is a memorable performance, and the 17 year-old clearly has a bright future. Cate Blanchett as the icy Marissa Wiegler is brilliant, like usual. There is a strong supporting cast, including John MacMillan, one of few people of color in the film.

“Adapt or die” is the tag-line of Hanna. But the film might have soared higher if it did not adapt so much to the ho-hum of revenge flicks. A couple spoonfuls of originality and Hanna could’ve been something to remember. That said, I’m sure there will be another film like Hanna this time next year.  Here’s a better idea: Hanna, Salt and Colombiana should all merge together for a sequel.

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