I rented this film on impulse, having heard nothing about it, because the movie place attached to my gym was repping it really hard. Much like when I watched “In Bruges” because Netflix accidentally sent it to me, the extremely half-assed nature of my film choosing made it even more triumphant when “Hanna” turned out to be SO AWESOME.

The film opens on a tiny young girl in some sort of Arctic wilderness, swathed in furs and calmly aiming a big ol’ arrow at a big ol’ caribou guy. The girl (played by creepy/amazing/beautiful Irish actress Saoirse Ronan) brings down the caribou and is busily pulling out his guts when suddenly a bearded Eric Bana looms up behind her and goes “YOU’RE DEAD.” Then they have a crazy fist fight where she’s knocking him over and strangling him and stuff! But ultimately he overpowers her, then stands over her and tells her to get the meat back home, stat.

First of all, what? Second of all, I don’t think a 13 year old girl could literally overpower Eric Bana, right? Thirdly, who are these people.

Luckily these questions are swiftly answered with vague references to the girl pulling 300 pounds of meat home on a sled, thus proving that she is “getting stronger” and is “almost ready.” She’s some kind of robot person or genetically-engineered superstar? And Eric Bana is her father! And they live in a weird hut in the snow and she’s über-well-trained in what appears to be everything from math to geography to world languages to Judo to shooting guns with terrifying accuracy. And Bana just tries to kill her all day, and she has to fight him off, and then at night he reads to her from encyclopedias and tells her to translate stuff into eighteen different languages. It turns out that Bana is a badass CIA agent who went rogue 13 years ago and took his infant daughter into hiding with him. The details are dim but don’t worry all will be eventually made clear. He has taught his daughter that their arch nemesis–the woman who killed the girl’s mother, which was the event that sent Bana rogue–is this woman played by Cate Blanchett, who is another badass terrifying CIA agent. Apparently she has some sort of psychotic perverted maternal instinct driving her to hunt Bana and the kid down like dogs. We meet father and daughter right on the cusp of the daughter becoming a woman, which in this film is signified not by her getting her period and caring about boys but rather by her deciding she is ready to kill her mother’s killer. Bana pulls out a weird blinking button and says when she pushes it, Cate Blanchett will know where she is, and “Will not stop until one of you is dead.” Hanna’s like “lets do this,” and pushes the button, and then the movie gets SO CRAZY!!!

Bana suddenly shaves and is wearing a suit and is like “goodbye,” and just goes, like, walking off into the arctic wilderness, after making Hanna memorize the address in Germany where they’ll meet once she’s done killing Cate Blanchett. Hanna’s so stoked to see the world! She waits in the house until insane numbers of Navy SEALS show up to nab her. She kills most of them but is finally captured. Hooray! Her ticket back to civilization!

She wakes up in some sort of terrifying CIA blackout prison and immediately tricks everybody and gets a gun and kills a bunch more people and then just calmly escapes, all the while a disturbingly STOKED Cate Blanchett watches it on TV and is like “HELL YEAH, THAT’S MY GIRL!” What is going on?

Chase scene with tiny barefoot 13 year old waif evading huge groups of stampeding marines, all of whom are confusingly terrified of her. What do they know that we don’t? Yes, she is apparently an unearthly badass but still.

She pops up in the middle of Morocco or something (fucking black ops shit! FUCK YOU) and hitches a secret ride by hanging onto the underside of a Hummer, which carries her across a vast desert. Then she starts walking, and suddenly gets to a road where she meets what Gary describes as “a real little girl.” The movie gets even more awesome! Contrasting Hanna with a regular girl her own age is delightful and a crucial bit of levity in this otherwise unstoppably badass murder rampage film. This little girl uses slang that confuses Hanna, and is disappointed when Hanna turns out not to be from Sri Lanka, like MIA. The girl’s parents are hippies and they give Hanna a ride. Hanna is seeing the world! Unfortunately a crew of deeply psychotic CIA henchmen are following her! So many crazy fight scenes are about to happen!

Meanwhile Eric Bana has somehow swum from the Arctic to Germany, where he crawls out of the water and promptly kills a bunch of policemen. I love these movies about these unearthly badasses. Beautifully-choreographed scenes of impossibly virtuosic fights, where the badass’s face doesn’t even change expression as he’s, like, doing instantaneous trigonometry in his mind to calculate what angle he has to break a dude’s arm at in order to use it to block a bullet from 20 feet away. Yes!

Oh man. I could go on and on. And this is only like the first 30 minutes of the film!!! And I didn’t even tell you the part where Hanna, after walking across the desert, shows up at some old man’s hotel, and he’s talking to her in English but finally she asks where she is, and he tells her, and then she starts speaking Arabic, and he’s like “you speak Arabic?” and she’s like “of course,” and then he turns on the TV and she goes “WHAT IS THAT?!” and he’s like “just some stupid show,” but we know she meant THE TELEVISION ITSELF, which she’s never even heard of! And he turns on a light and she’s like “is this…electricity?” and he’s like “yeah!” and she goes, “it was discovered by Benjamin Franklin” and he’s like “oh I don’t know. Some American probably.” It’s so good. It’s like Hanna understands the physics and the entire history of electricity but has never seen it before. Unfortunately that old man gets killed though (not by Hanna).

It’s so good. What a weird and well-made film. It looks great, sounds great, the acting is great, the story is great.

It’s about a young girl being a crazy badass. It’s got Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett, who are awesome. It turns the stale-ass old narrative of “Boy must kill father’s killer” into “Girl must kill mother’s killer, who is also an extraordinary badass woman.” It’s sad, it’s funny, it’s awesome, it’s beautifully shot, it has EXCELLENT SOUND DESIGN, unusually good sound design, and the score is by the Chemical Brothers.


This entry was posted in Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *