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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Hanna

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Irish actor Saoirse Ronan stars in "Hanna."
The title character in "Hanna" (Focus)—played by Saoirse Ronan—spends all of her screen time running, jumping and hiding. At least, that is, when she's not efficiently dispatching various people who are out to get her.

According to Seth Lochhead and David Farr's script, however, Hanna's killer instinct isn't a moral failing; it's in her genes. She's hardhearted Hanna, short on social and communication skills because she's a teen Terminator. Set loose in the world, she's an innocent...until she's threatened.

Engaging performances overcome plot improbabilities, though not moral murkiness, to keep this espionage thriller watchable. But director Joe Wright substitutes fight and chase sequences—and extreme close-ups—for dialogue, leaving the audience on its own until nearly the end to figure out how this slim girl became so ruthless.

Hanna Heller, raised in a remote cabin near the Arctic Circle, has been trained by her father, Erik (Eric Bana), to kill as instinctively as a wild animal.

To what specific end such training has been undertaken is never made clear. But when Hanna decides she's sufficiently prepared, she switches on a signaling device that will lure the CIA to the cabin. Her dad—known by the agency as a "rogue asset"—disappears for a planned rendezvous with Hanna in Berlin. American soldiers descend, and the body count starts piling up.

Taken into custody and transported to a secret base in Morocco, Hanna escapes and makes her way across the country and eventually to Europe by posing as an ethereal German girl.

Somewhat like Frankenstein's monster, she's befuddled by technology as simple as an electric light, since she has never encountered it before. As for matters more personal, woe betides the rash lad who attempts to give Hanna her first kiss—a chaste one at that—in the midst of a party.

Trailing Hanna is CIA agent Marissa (Cate Blanchett), the only person who knows what dark secrets Hanna and Erik possess.

The ending is as predictable as these things get, though muddled story lines instrumental to the wrap-up—and references to genetic manipulation and abortion—restrict the film's appropriate audience to religiously and ethically well-grounded adults.

The film contains mature themes, extensive but non-gory gun and martial-arts violence, a single profanity and fleeting crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


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Pedro de San José Betancur: Central America claimed its first saint with the canonization of Pedro de San José Betancur by Pope John Paul II in Guatemala City on July 30, 2002. Known as the "St. Francis of the Americas," Pedro de Betancur is the first saint to have worked and died in Guatemala. 
<p>Calling the new saint an “outstanding example” of Christian mercy, the Holy Father noted that St. Pedro practiced mercy “heroically with the lowliest and the most deprived.” Speaking to the estimated 500,000 Guatemalans in attendance, the Holy Father spoke of the social ills that plague the country today and of the need for change. </p><p>“Let us think of the children and young people who are homeless or deprived of an education; of abandoned women with their many needs; of the hordes of social outcasts who live in the cities; of the victims of organized crime, of prostitution or of drugs; of the sick who are neglected and the elderly who live in loneliness,” he said in his homily during the three-hour liturgy. </p><p>Pedro very much wanted to become a priest, but God had other plans for the young man born into a poor family on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Pedro was a shepherd until age 24, when he began to make his way to Guatemala, hoping to connect with a relative engaged in government service there. By the time he reached Havana, he was out of money. After working there to earn more, he got to Guatemala City the following year. When he arrived he was so destitute that he joined the bread line that the Franciscans had established. </p><p>Soon, Pedro enrolled in the local Jesuit college in hopes of studying for the priesthood. No matter how hard he tried, however, he could not master the material; he withdrew from school. In 1655 he joined the Secular Franciscan Order. Three years later he opened a hospital for the convalescent poor; a shelter for the homeless and a school for the poor soon followed. Not wanting to neglect the rich of Guatemala City, Pedro began walking through their part of town ringing a bell and inviting them to repent. </p><p>Other men came to share in Pedro's work. Out of this group came the Bethlehemite Congregation, which won papal approval after Pedro's death. A Bethlehemite sisters' community, similarly founded after Pedro's death, was inspired by his life of prayer and compassion. </p><p>He is sometimes credited with originating the Christmas Eve <i>posadas</i> procession in which people representing Mary and Joseph seek a night's lodging from their neighbors. The custom soon spread to Mexico and other Central American countries. </p><p>Pedro was canonized in 2002.</p> American Catholic Blog We sometimes try to do everything on our own, forgetting that the Lord wants to help us. Let's never be afraid to admit that we are weak and can't do things on our own. St. Paul gives us a great example: "On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses" (2 Corinthians 12:5).


 
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