Who is Hanna?

One good thing about the Caps crapping the bed a couple of weeks ago (this game, I think) was that it gave me time to watch a movie. Having quite a few recent options to choose from (thank you, Black Friday/Cyber Monday), I decided on Hanna. I wasn't sure if I could really buy the premise, but I was certainly curious to see the execution.

For those unfamiliar, the premise is that a guy has raised his daughter from early childhood to be an assassin (with a specific, personal target). He was a spy, so some of it wasn't completely outlandish. To further that, he raised her in a remote location near the Arctic Circle (how remote? They had to hunt for their food). So far, so good.

But the big question is, how is she going to carry this out?

To get back to the important stuff, they did an excellent job with the little details, but the larger, plausibility issue wasn't really so great. But Hanna's interactions with other people (and technology) were very good.

I liked that, when she first meets someone to talk to, she sounds like a recorder. She remembers her lines, but can't make herself sound natural. And her knowledge is encyclopedic, but rarely useful (unsurprising, since much of it came directly out of an encyclopedia).

One weird thing that just occurred to me. Her first time in a place with electricity she gets a bit freaked out. The problems with that were two-fold: one, she didn't seem at all uncomfortable at the place where she carried out her mission (which was earlier in the movie), and two, we didn't see that again. People don't recover from something like that quite that quickly.

Also, she didn't seem to have any trouble with cars, which she also hadn't seen before (well, not since she was a toddler, at least).

And the other two problems were pretty big ones. The first was her ability to fight. If they want her to be able to believably fight grown, trained men, they needed to do something more than they did. They had a bit of an explanation for her being strong enough to do that sort of thing, but it wasn't introduced until about three-quarters of the way through the film. That's too late. Plus, no offense to Saoirse Ronan, who was otherwise excellent (and I do believe she worked really hard on the fighting part), but she didn't seem all that believable at fighting. Not that she didn't look competent; she did, but she didn't seem sufficiently outstanding to be outclassing trained guys so much bigger than her. I actually think, to make this believable, that they needed to do some special effects or very fancy choreography, and they didn't.

The last big thing that just didn't seem right: the whole film was set in motion by Hanna turning on a transponder that told her target where her father was. There wasn't any explanation for how or why he would have a transponder that was detectable (apparently world-wide; I did mention how remote they were) and that identified him, specifically. It's fairly easy to ignore, I guess, but I just don't see any explanation.

Anyway, to get back to the good parts, I did think Ms Ronan was excellent. Eric Bana was also good as her father, as was Cate Blanchett as the target.

And, as I said, they got lots of little details right. The boy staying awake to listen to his sister talk to another girl. Hanna's reaction to a boy showing some interest in her. They also spent a lot of time working on accents and languages, and it showed.

Overall, this movie felt more like a foreign film than a US one; I'm surprised, looking now, that it made as much as it did in the US. I'm glad that it did, though. I wouldn't mind seeing more films like this made, although I hope they'll put a little more emphasis into the big details, before worrying so much about the little ones.

Of course, one does need to question why there are so many movies being made recently about assassins. You'd think they'd be considered the lowest of the low, yet they're being glorified. Something's definitely wrong with that picture.

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