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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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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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