Hanna: Virtuoso Filmmaking and Retro Politics Propel This Crisp Thriller

The era of the teenage action heroine is fully upon us. As pop-cultural correctives go, it's a mixed blessing. In one corner, you've got the jailbait fantasies of Sucker Punch and Kick-Ass, which eagerly trade on notions of naughty girliness rather than transcend or interrogate them. In the other, you've got True Grit and now Joe Wright's Hanna, mainstream Hollywood adventure films that refrain from sexualizing or gender-delimiting their young female protagonists. While the Coen brothers revisited a classic Western, Wright tells a tech-savvy fairy tale, replete with a wicked witch, uncertain parentage, and chopsocky mixed martial arts. Yet despite its 21st-century trappings and proto-feminist protagonist, Hanna strangely reverts to reactionary politics as usual.

When we first meet 16-year-old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan, a Tilda Swinton in training who traffics in translucent skin and opaque emotions), she's a fierce huntress and winter warrior, disemboweling woodland beasts in between staged fisticuffs with her bearded and be-furred father, Erik (Eric Bana, a reliably soulful slice of beefcake). Stuck in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, she knows nothing of the larger world except for whatever paranoid Papa has taught her. Since even home-schooled ninjas have to grow up, Erik concedes to unearthing a long-hidden device that, if activated, will alert civilization — including avenging CIA operative Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) — of their whereabouts. Hanna chooses the inevitable, prompting Erik to shave and flee in a pinstriped three-piece suit while special ops abduct his daughter. But it doesn't take Hanna long to escape a tricked-out underground lair, snapping necks, bludgeoning faces, and embarking on a grim journey of self-discovery and self-defensive homicide.

After three well-behaved dramas — Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, and The Soloist —Wright emerges as a nimble action director. Rather than sloppily machine-gunning shots in the Hollywood style, Wright prefers spatial continuity and a crisp, Kubrickian frame. For Hanna's breakneck subterranean emergence, texture and tension are created not through Ginsu editing but sculptural, strobe-like overhead lighting, as in a Mazda commercial. In one knockout sequence, Wright tracks Bana and a mysterious follower into and out of a train depot, across a plaza, and down a metro escalator before Bana dispatches four marauding goons, all in one elegant long take.

Saorise Ronan in Hanna
Saorise Ronan in Hanna

Details

Directed by Joe Wright. Written by Seth Lochhead and David Farr. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, and Cate Blanchett. Rated PG-13.

But it's telling that such virtuosity is inconsequential to the larger story. Despite its handsome presentation and cinematic ingenuity, the film never really goes beyond superficial pleasures. Hanna's origin story isn't revealed until the end (via a supremely anti-dramatic Wikipedia search, no less), which keeps her estranged from us as well as from herself; whenever the disarmingly poised Ronan manages to narrow the gap, she's briskly undone by yet another Chemical Brothers-scored chase sequence. But better to march forth than dwell on the dubious conservatism that undergirds Wright's tale. Isaacs (Tom Hollander), a baddie recruited to hunt down Hanna, is evil embodied as deviant gay Euro-trash, complete with bleached-blond hair, brightly colored track suits, short-shorts, and loafers worn lightly. And though Blanchett is a riot as a Nordstrom-attired, Southern-drawled Brunhilde with scarlet helmet hair and aggressively white teeth, what ultimately makes her so harrowing — and so worthy of punishment — is her childlessness. "I made certain choices," Marissa says, desperately justifying her careerism, before she buries a bullet in a womb-sanctified old matriarch. Hanna is the one that got away and a reminder of the miserable fate that awaits the ambitious, the infertile, the dentally preoccupied.

Wright piles on the fairy-tale signifiers for a Berlin-set finale, from a dingy gingerbread house and Big Bad Wolf amusement ride to witchy Marissa's screeching demise. In terms of craft and invention, Hanna has more going for it than most Hollywood films, but its achievements only magnify disappointment when it all builds to nothing more than a catchphrase. "I just missed your heart," Hanna says to her first and final conquests. Missed mine, too, if only just.

 
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Hello, my name is Bob Leonard Forthan, and I’m a write me in candidate for President of the United States of America in, 2012. I love America, but the high cost of living needs to be addressed. Don’t vote for me if you want a welfare country, because first thing to go are Americas entitlements. I have many ideas to save America, but first I have to stop the one way drain of revenue, gasoline, America spends one hundred million dollars a day in fuel cost. I will by order of the President, I would change almost traffic signs to stop signs this action would stop the American people from traveling long distances daily and support shopping local. If you ever had to go though a four way stop sign, you would understand, that if this was on every corner the American public, first would protest, call for my resignation, and in time understand that America spends one hundred million dollars a day on fuel, and this is draining revenue, and sending money daily to all ports around the world to feed our addiction to oil. Question how do emergency vehicles respond if the streets are congested, slow response is acceptable, emergency vehicle will travel on side and back streets. Now at first thought you may think this is a terrible idea, but this is a jobs creator, and lots of them, for example instead of the American people going to the grocery store the groceries come to you, think of all the ways food can be delivered by, bicycled, cars, trucked, grow your own, sell your own, cows, chickens fruits, vegetables, just like it used to be many years age before corporations own groceries stores.Next I would turn off all street lamps off at night, again America spends one hundred million dollars a day in fuel, not all is gasoline, home heating oil, natural gas, are part of the one hundred million dollars a day. I don’t know if you ever been out and your area lost power, it’s very dark outside without street lamps, this would limit the America public from traveling at night, saving energy, and get the American people to share their home out of fear of the dark, how many of our older citizens live by themselves with their home heat on high with no one but themselves to heat.I WILL ONLY SPEND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS OF MY OWN MONEY ON MY CAMPAIGN, AND I WILL ONLY EXCEPT CASH ONLY CONTRIBUTIONS. SEND ANYTHING TO 601 NE 162 ND AVENUE, PORTLAND, OREGON 97230, COMMITTEE TO BUILD DOME HOMES. I want to make America a cash only country, no debt or credit cards used for any reasons, not because it’s a bad ideal, but most white people can used their home, or employer as a credit or debt card, while most people of color have to sell drugs or some other sorry way to make money, and most people of color are in criminal courts, while white people are in bankruptcy courts, and as long credit and debt is for most white people, their will be no racial equality, for large items you buy cashers checks, and the item needs to be valued over two thousand dollars to be issued any cashers checks. No personnel checks written for any reason, if you work and you make under two thousand dollars your paid cash, and the government will pay your taxes, and their will be no tax refund at the end of the year if you make under two thousand dollars, this is how your taxes will be paid when you make under two thousand dollars a month, about on third of the American population. Furthermore this will end entitlements as we know them, and bring down the high cost of living, because about third the country will be making under two thousand dollars a month cash, and the rest of the country will be paying taxes, to fund the country, because they make over two thousand dollars a month, then your paid only with a electronically deposit or a cashers check, and your taxed on deposit or cashed check. Cash only transactions will also help the environment, due to the American public will have to save if he or she wants to buy a big ticket items. If elected I will build Dome Homes, because every American needs a minimum standard of living, a place to eat, sleep, a personal computer, cell phone, and microwave oven for all who wants live inside the dome homes. Now Dome Homes are structures, that will house less than five thousand people, for example a central large dome structure where again people eat, attend school, entertainment. Then smaller dome type structures all attached to the larger dome home for people to sleep, care for the old, infant care, and again all tenants will have their own room with personal computer, cell phone, and microwave oven. All tenants will have a choice of what , when, and where they eat, for example dome homes will have a 24/7, buffet food, left over food will be frozen and made into frozen dinners and ate later for profit. All dome homes will have Burger Kings, McDonalds restaurants, stores where you could buy anything needed inside a dome home rooms, bars, casinos.The federal government well to get into the growing of crops, livestock business, to help lower the price of food, most tenants inside the dome homes will be poor, and expect to live form cradle to grave as cheap as possible. And if elected I will build another type of dome homes to grow some crops, like a large greenhouse, and livestock dome homes for animals. We are the nuclear families, every dome home will have fallout bomb shelters, and if ever used the force of the bomb should travel over dome structures. Now all states below sea level will need to built their Dome Homes on a twenty feet mounds of dirt and rocks, with no fallout shelter, and may not withstand a nuclear bomb.Now the government has a right to lower the cost of living, and stopping the invention of insurance will be a must in my administration, for example a vehicle sell for fifteen thousand dollars new, and then one week later it’s only worth ten thousand, but if that vehicle is wrecked one week later it’s still worth fifteen thousand dollars if insured, furthermore some insurances will replace a new vehicle after almost a year later after it’s sold, and by that time the vehicle is worth way less than ten thousand dollars, then there are American people stopping fast, opening car doors just to collect insurance. Now who will buy a fifty thousand dollar Hummer, or a one, two or three thousand dollar house if their was no insurance. Furthermore health care is out of control, a weeks stay in a hospital could cost more than thirty thousand dollars, billed to insurance and the federal government spends billions on health care each and every year. Moreover many people will die due to no insurance which will help the environment, due to fewer people. Now the health care system will solve their uninsured problems with lower cost, corporations which runs Americas health care systems will abandon the health care industry, make hospitals private, and the private hospitals will stop care for the worst cases. In addition many doctors will leave hospitals and start their own private practices which will lower the cost of health care.Now I’m worth more dead than alive due to life insurance, my friends who die with no life insurance are worth nothing. Also if elected I will stop all Medicare, Social Security entitlements for all Americans. and pay off all who contributed to the system!Now if elected, I must make a choice, if I do the same thing as other past Presidents I’ll have the same outcome, a country in debt, or I can make American great once more. America has more entertainment than any were on the planet, and I think it’s the presidents job to save the country by any means possible, and that means no gun control. For example, would as many people attend a N.B.A. basketball game if their were no gun control, just think of the twenty thousand people attending a basketball game with most people carrying a loaded gun, or all the colleges, high schools, and grade schools, and the many activities were the parents are carrying guns. Now my point is this would save the environment, most if not all school activities would be canceled, saving the planet from global warming. Furthermore the American public would travel by day and not by night, and the little old lady who lives by herself, in her house with the room temperature unbearably high, would fine some roommates, plus more people stay together for safety reasons, and saving the environment.However, we live in a world were there are two types of Americans ones with great wealth, and thoughts with little, so the people with great wealth will hire someone to protect themselves and their property, and for everyone who dies saving the rich mans property is environmental saving, and the rich person would restrict his activities also saving the planet from and environmental disasters.Also if someone is murdered the government will act swiftly to terminate that persons life, but if someone is in a far gunfight they’re be let off free from any arrest warrants, sounds like the wild west days. Now this is how I’m going to achieve the above. I’m not a lawyer, so I will need my Vice President to be a lawyer, and some one of color a Hispanic, fire all non elected judges, sue grocery stores for being a monopoly, Henry Ford proved assembly lines make things cheaper, and the price of food is to high, stop the federal food stamp programs of the United States, there are to many small grocery making two or three hundred percent profit on food products, and who will work for me if the government has hand outs. The United States needs a new jobs market, major grocery stores profits over one hundred million dollars a year each, I will past laws for no corporate ownership of any grocery stores, this will end large chicken, beef farms and lower food prices, then pay off all retires, with no matching funds, fire all federal employees, with the hope states will follow example of federal government, hire back any one will to work for under two thousand dollars cash a month. This will end entitlements as we know them, and a federal sales tax on all money spent to lower the debt of the country.

 

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