I was lucky enough to finally see Hanna on the big screen. It’s worth the effort to try and catch it at the theater, particularly for all of the stunning cinematography, so much of which was shot on location. The film is beautiful and meaningful, and as I said in the no-spoiler preview of the film, haunting.
Here we’ll be taking a look at some screencaps I nabbed from the trailer, and having a conversation full of *HUGE SPOILERS* for the film. Click away if you don’t want to know ALL of the particulars of this story before you see the film.
(*CLICK* all pics for larger versions!)
At the top of this post, we see Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) turning the tables on her attacking father Erik (Eric Bana). Eric has said in interviews that he let Saoirse beat the crap out of him for authenticity sake…well, he allowed a few bruises, anyway. 🙂 In any case, Saoirse is feral and believable as the attack assassin she’s been trained to be.
Here we have some caps of the iceman Erik and his wild-haired but ethereally lovely daughter Hanna.
I really liked their scenes together. It was pivotal to the story that despite all the hunting and fighting and drills, there was true warmth and affection between them. I liked that he read to her out of encyclopedias as if they were bedtime stories, and the strange way that he only let her know the book definition of things like music and kisses. I think it was an intriguing part of the story that this lack of experience and emotion were actually a huge detriment to Hanna’s success at her mission. Training a robotic killing machine is fine if you’re dealing with other robotic killing machines–but there are all sorts of human emotions, foibles and crises along the way that Hanna is ill-equipped to handle, and her one-dimensional upbringing becomes a detriment. In trying to protect her, Erik has actually hindered and hurt her.
I also appreciated that Hanna wasn’t a caricature or comic book assassin. She’s complicated. She wants to go out on her own and complete her “mission”–and see the rest of the world. But then when it’s time for it, there’s the lovely scene where she folds up next to Erik and just lays against him–a child again, looking for comfort from her dad.
Here we see Hanna’s wistful look and the cleaned-up Erik giving her last-minute instructions. I don’t think he had any idea what she would really be in for.
Here are two great shots from the film. Note how the subjects are framed by their surroundings, the differences in lighting, the brilliance of Marissa’s red hair compared to her cool gray clothing and setting.
I’m still trying to decide if I wanted more from Marissa (Cate Blanchett) in this film. She’s a character of mystery and contradictions, but if you go through each scene, you get little clues. There’s perhaps a hint that she loved or wanted Erik and resented his relationship with Hanna’s mother–and with Hanna herself. There’s also a brilliant scene with Hanna’s grandmother, where Marissa cracks a little when she’s asked if she has any children. There’s enough there to paint in some of who Marissa is, but I feel like there was room enough for another piece. Perhaps if I see it again I’ll have more of an idea, but I think I would have liked something more in her final stand-off with Erik. More of a reaction on her part, more fear, or remorse, or bloodlust–something.
But maybe that’s part of the beauty of Hanna. Normally I’m very resentful of “figure it out for yourself” writing–I tend to think it’s a lazy copout. But in this case I think it’s Hanna’s film and Hanna’s story, and we’re in many ways going on her perspective. She doesn’t know, and probably will never know, the true nature of who she is or who her mother or Erik were, or why Marissa really wants her dead so badly when she’s actually so proud of her experimental results.
One thing Hanna does especially well is creating a never-ending feeling of suspense and usually dread. When we see Hanna in captivity, acting so calm and blank, we don’t know if we’re more afraid for her or the unwitting people around her. Whatever it is, we know something bad is going to happen.
You know this isn’t going to turn out well. This woman’s job is the equivalent of a royal food taster. She’s just met her boss’ poison.
I think this was another crucial moment. That even the stoic, obsessively ordered and ruthless Marissa is freaked out by Hanna’s abrupt killing spree, tells us so much about how scared we should be by this little girl assassin. This is another question the film poses–whether Marissa had a point in cleaning up the experiment. As much as we come to identify with Hanna, is it really safe to have her out in the world? What sort of a person is she going to become?
More great cinematic moments. This movie is a joy to screencap; there are just so many cool shots. The Grimm’s fairytales dilapidated amusement park also made a perfect setting for this grim fairytale. Very symbolic and beautifully done.
Cate has a similar ability to Tilda Swinton, to play these uber skinny, somewhat androgynous, buttoned up, dangerous women.
Tom Hollander doesn’t ever seem to be the kind of guy you want following you, whether he’s joined by goons in Hanna or officers in Pirates of the Caribbean. At first blush he’s sort of charming and likable, but then that crazy killer instinct comes out and it’s very, very freaky.
A heck of a stunt by Hanna to get herself a little further across the desert before dehydrating.
The softer side of Hanna, as she learns how to be a teenager. I liked her relationship with Sophie (Jessica Barden), but I’m still on the fence about the kiss. I’m not sure how much it was supposed to mean, or if it was something the male director thought was pretty, you know what I mean? I took it as a moment of affection and trust, but I’m not entirely sure it was necessary.
Another shot of Sophie and her mother Rachel (Olivia Williams). This was another question mark in the film–am I naive to ask if Sophie and her family met the same gruesome end that all of the other innocent people on Isaacs’ trail did?
I’m so glad Eric got to show his stuff in the film, and I don’t mean that clingy, wet long underwear he climbed out of the ocean in. But, you know, I was glad of that, too. But his fight sequence was excellent–he is very good at the man-of-action stuff. As for the character, it takes some serious confidence to actually lure your attackers to a secluded area where they can surround you. Wowza. I’m also glad that if nothing else, Erik at least got to do some nasty things to Isaacs and his goons, considering what they’d done in their pursuit of him and Hanna.
I think this was the most heartbreaking part of all, that this painful exchange was the last one that Hanna and Erik had. It’s the end result of Erik’s mistakes in judgment…as Hanna says, he didn’t prepare her for this. He didn’t prepare her for a lot of things. In some ways you have to wonder if he kept so many emotions out of her life because he couldn’t handle them himself anymore. Maybe it was more that he wanted to be a stoic robot, so he couldn’t feel pain anymore. That’s the beauty of Eric Bana. Even if it’s unspoken aloud, he says all of those anguished things with his eyes.
Here’s another shot of Marissa, and then the final showdown. Even though it’s perhaps cliche to begin and end the film with the same line, but I confess I didn’t expect it here. It was incredibly chilling, and truly plants the seed of uncertainty in what ordinarily would be a moment of triumph, of good victorious over bad. It’s just that suddenly we’re worried about how good Hanna actually is.
I hope you enjoyed the Hanna screencaps. When the DVD comes out, there should definitely be some Bana beefcake screencaps coming your way. For now we’ll have to settle for pretty and poignant Eric.
What did you all think of the film? Any thoughts on the themes or possible plot holes in the film? Please do share!
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PHOTOS: Hanna screencaps, c2011 Holleran Co., Studio Babelsberg & Focus Features.