Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge

During 2012, I'll be pitting the movies I watch against each other to determine the top movies of the year. Each month, I will compare every movie I watch to the defending champion. The top movie at the end of the month will be that month's pick of that month. At the end of the year, I'll be comparing the twelve movies together to determine my movie of the year.

So far, I've seen exactly one movie for the year. Hanna was a movie I wanted desperately to see in theaters but never got a chance to until now.


Director: Joe Wright

Writers: Seth Lochhead and David Farr

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana

This movie sets a very, very high bar for January. I loved just about everything that this movie had to offer. The story follows a young girl, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) who has been raised by her father, Erik (Eric Bana) in the arctic tundra of Finland. Convinced that she is ready, Hanna is intentionally captured by CIA special forces so that she can get close to Marissa (Cate Blanchett) and assassinate her.

The movie is a hard movie to categorize. I can't truly call it an action flick, but it isn't drama either. It's refreshing to have a movie that defies categories. Notably, the movie has strong character development in Hanna, something I rarely see in the action genre. Another aspect of the movie that makes it impossible to call it an action flick is its use of imagery. The imagery is subtle, enough to hint upon your subconscious. The movie opens with Finland and a world of pure white and it is a significant amount of time before more than one or two colors become common place on the screen. This color shift is, clearly the imagery of Hanna's state of innocence. Additionally, the movie makes multiple references to fairy tales. At one particularly important scene, Hanna is confronted by Marissa who has just stepped out from the jaws of a wolf at an amusement park.

None of the above is to say that the movie is perfect. There are issues with this film. In Morocco, Hanna is on her own for the first time. She finds herself quickly overwhelmed by the many sounds in her room. The television, which had been on a piece of music seconds before is suddenly making war noises. The phone happens to ring at that moment. There are gunshots in the street. It was forced far too much and pulled me out of the story. Another issue with the movie, and this is a minor complain, is the languages presented in the film. The movie has five languages used in the film I could identify. The characters all speak English. German comes up in a few scenes. Arabic is used for one of the Morocco scenes. Italian and Spanish are both used once. Five languages, and they couldn't bother to use the native language for the country of the opening scene, Finland.

For those of you reading this who do not know me yet, I happen to love Finland. I was looking forward to watching a movie that might have a few scenes of characters speaking in a foreign language I know. This was disappointing.


With no movies to compare this to yet, Hanna is the top dog. Woe be to the next few movies that try and knock this movie off of the hill.

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