Run Hanna Run
Euro-flavored actioner is more fun than typical Hollywood fare
File this one somewhere in between such Euro art-house exploitation flicks as Luc Besson’s The Professional and Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run.
The eponymous character (Saoirse Ronan) has lived most of her 16 years secluded in the snowy forests of Finland with her old man (Eric Bana). There’s no television or Internet (or even electricity), so they’ve passed the years with him training her to be a cold, ruthless killing machine. And as a former CIA badass, he’s the perfect teacher.
But there comes a time in every young girl’s life when she has to make the break from daddy and strike out into the world on her own, and we join Hanna just at that point. As every good daddy knows when that time has come, he takes a powder … and arranges to rendezvous with her in Berlin.
But they’re a long way from Berlin, so he sets up an alert for the CIA to come to the wilderness and collect her. The agency—aside from rogue agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett), who’s using the CIA only to fulfill her own ill-defined agenda—has absolutely no idea what they’re picking up. And, as this is an action movie, things go bad fast for anyone who stands between Hanna and her plans to meet up with Daddy.
Coming from Joe Wright (director of Pride and Prejudice and Atonement), Hanna is an oddball Hollywood actioner with a European style. It takes a slow-burn approach to getting to the meat and potatoes, and lets the narrative unreel at its own leisure, rather than shoehorning action beats in to fit the Hollywood template.
While it’s never boring, Hanna relies a little too much on the gimmick of its concept rather than fleshing out a real narrative. There’s some hooey about secret genetic experiments that never really seems to have any bearing on the story, and the movie just sort of wanders along until it decides that it’s over. Blanchett doesn’t make things play any easier by affecting a deep-Southern drawl that makes her lines sound as if she’s speaking through low-IQ molasses. Every time she opens her mouth, the movie shudders.
But the young Ronan carries the movie well, and Bana lends some solid support. Recognizing that not all movie-goers are 16-year-old mouth-breathers, the script doesn’t feel the need to explain things that are self-evident, while it entertains itself with more than a little subtext. And as the action sequences are grounded in the European ethos, this is a welcome break from your typical Hollywood bludgeon.