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IN SHORT: Wow. [Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexual material and language. 111 minutes]
There is snow. There is what appears to be a young-ish teenboy hunting a reindeer. It's not a boy. It's a girl and her arrow has just missed the deer's heart. So, she finishes the deal, in a sequence that will be echoed at the end of Hanna, a flat out terrific sit.
At first we thought we were watching survivalists, as we see the home life of the girl Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) and her father Erik (Eric Bana). For reasons we will eventually learn, Hanna is fluent in numerous languages. She can kill with or without weapons. She has had no contact with any kind of humanity other than her father and her only entertainment comes from an illustrated book of Grimm's fairy tales. We assume the book tells the original versions of the Tales, which are quite gruesome; read them and you'll understand that life's adventures do not always come with a happy ending.
Hanna has decided, though, that it is time for her to see the wider world. It is a day her father has dreaded, for that means unearthing some sort of rescue beacon and setting in motion a search and destroy mission emanating from the offices of one Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett) at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Marissa and Erik were once involved with each other, we'll not say how, and she bears a murderous grudge befitting . . . well, she's not a woman scorned. At least not in the traditional sense. Part of Hanna's battle training has, apparently, been because of the Erik-Marissa team up. And when well-armed troops drop the hammer on the isolated (in Finland) cabin from whence the beacon calls, Hanna demonstrates her abilities. The troops were not expecting Hanna. Pour souls.
Hanna is captured, though. Taken into some kind of holding facility she is interrogated to no avail until a woman claiming to be Marissa -- it is not -- enters the room to continue the interrogation. And another one bites the dust.
We are fighting with our self,, trying not to give away too much of what happens in this story. Said story is too full of details that interlock and build to a whopper of a conclusion that we'll just summarize: Hanna escapes the holding area, which for some reason is buried somewhere underneath the lands of Morocco. Her tasked journey -- dad has been teaching her for a dozen years -- is to reach the original Grimm home in Germany, where her father will meet her.
During her journey, Hanna will make friends and evade assassins. Ultimately her story is really a cover for the continuing battle between Erik and Marissa . . . unless, of course, we are lying through our keyboards, and planting erroneous information just to fill space. Kinda like Hanna sneaking past border checkpoints on her journey from Morocco to Germany and the quite bizarre setting of the area around the Grimm house.
Remember that many of Grimm's fairy tales involve journeys into, say, dark and deadly forests, and overlay that basic template with the events in Hanna and you have a twisted fairy tale for modern times. Reading the press notes after our screening reveals that that is exactly what director Joe Wright was going for.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hanna, he would have paid . . .
The rating was $9.50 in my head until I started writing. All those interlocking details make for such a slick, wonderful sit that we want to see Hanna again. That's the black and white definition of our "ten."
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