Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hanna-Bana-Bo-Bana



Mid-way through Joe Wright's Hanna, I realized my problem with it. I wanted to watch the Cate Blanchett movie. I wanted to watch the Eric Bana movie. Hell, I was pretty happy with the wacky-British-family movie. What I did not want to see was the Saoirse Ronan movie. Which is a bitch, since she plays Hanna.

A lot of people I know, and people I respect, liked this movie. It just angered the crap out of me. If I have to see another over-the-top metaphor about becoming a woman, people are going to get punched. The sentiments and archetypal figures just fall flat and become meaningless after a while. The thin guise of the plot is, in fact, so simple that the messy script and uneven direction only serve to complicate an unnecessary story. But hell, let's give this so-called story a brief description. Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a girl being raised in the wilds of Finland. Her father (Eric Bana) is a former CIA operative. He trains Hanna to be an assassin to eventually go up against the shady current CIA operative Marissa (Cate Blanchett). Hanna purposefully gets captured, breaks out of a compound and spends the rest of the movie trying to follow her father's rendez-vous plan which winds up with them meeting at the Grimm's house in Berlin.

Hey! You know what's a metaphor???? Meeting up at the fucking Grimm's House. Holy shit! Is it a metaphor for womanhood like every single one of those stories is about the acceptance of a female shame??? Wow. I think by the time Cate Blanchett emerges from the oversized mouth of a wolf my eyes rolled so hard it was audible. It doesn't help that Ronan is made up to look like a decrepit Stevie Nicks and that she's managed to maintain the exact same expression in Atonement and The Lovely Bones. The ethereal stuff is boring. But maybe only to me because she seems to keep getting cast in major roles. To me, she is the epitome of the nonthreatening female. Even knowing her character is a highly trained assassin, I was not the least bit intimidated. She is yet another boring, attractive, blank slate. If we're talking young actresses, give me Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) any day. Give me a woman, old or young, that displays more than nonthreatening beauty. Give me some intelligence and some sense of conflict. Give me something to relate to. Not an over-simplified, glorified version of purity and femininity.

That being said, Blanchett and Bana do a lot with hidiously underwritten parts. Their dynamics are engaging and their scenes the best shot in the whole movie. The British family that Hanna hooks up with for a while are straight out of the best film Wes Anderson never made.

Hanna's getting my rough treatment because it hit my pet peeve right on the head. There are some truly inspired moments. Too bad none of them include the main character.

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