Thursday, Apr 7 2011

HANNA Joe Wright's Hanna is a tech-savvy fairy tale, replete with a wicked witch, uncertain parentage and chopsocky mixed martial arts. Despite its 21st-century trappings and protofeminist protagonist, Hanna strangely reverts to reactionary politics as usual. When we first meet 16-year-old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), she's a fierce huntress, disemboweling woodland beasts in between staged fisticuffs with her bearded and befurred father, Erik (Eric Bana). 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, Dad concedes to unearthing a long-hidden device that alerts civilization — including avenging CIA operative Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) — to their whereabouts. After a dead-of-night abduction, Hanna mercilessly escapes from captivity, snapping necks and bludgeoning faces on her grim journey of self-discovery and self-preserving homicide. Best known for well-behaved dramas, Wright (Atonement) emerges as a surprisingly nimble action director, who refreshingly favors spatial continuity and a crisp, Kubrickian frame. But there's a dubious conservatism undergirding his tale. Though Blanchett is a riot as a Nordstrom-attired, Southern-drawling Brunhilde, what ultimately makes her so deviant — and so worthy of punishment — is her childlessness. Hanna has more going for it than most Hollywood genre films, but its aesthetic achievements amount to only superficial pleasures. (Eric Hynes) (Citywide)

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