Movie Review: Hanna (2011)

August 9, 2011 in Movie Reviews, Reviews by pacejmiller

Hanna is not a great film, but it’s exciting and it’s different.  I’d call it ‘pretty good’.

Saoirse Ronan is mesmerising as the titular character, a teenager taught to be an assassin by her father (played by Eric Bana) — for reasons we discover throughout the movie — since the age of 2.  A corrupt CIA agent (played by another Aussie, Cate Blanchett) and her henchmen are after her.  That’s about all you need to know.

With this unique premise, Hanna already sets itself apart from the majority of Hollywood action films that get released these days.  Directed by Joe Wright (best known for period dramas such as Pride and Prejudice and Atonement), Hanna is surprisingly fast-paced, with its adrenaline-pumped action sequences playing out almost like MTV music clips on steroids.  With the thumping music, it reminded me, strangely, of Run Lola Run.

For the most part, I found Hanna to be a compelling action-thriller because of the mystery behind Hanna’s origins and Wright’s excellent handling of the material.  In lesser hands the movie could have been a mess, but Wright’s visual flair, combined with Ronan’s icy yet human performance, manages to keep the film afloat.  There are also some humorous, almost surreal comedic moments in Hanna which provide a nice change of tone.

That said, I’m not sure Hanna is a movie I would likely remember years from now.  It’s a smarter, prettier than average roller coaster ride fuelled by a marvellous performance.  Technically it is very good, but there’s really nothing about it that made me go ‘wow’.

3.5 stars out of 5

Hello Canberra!

August 9, 2011 in Canberra, Travel by pacejmiller

About a month ago (man time flies around here) I took the wife to our nation’s capital for a little weekend getaway.  It had been over a decade since either of us had visited and it was one of the cheapest destinations from Sydney that could be reached without a plane or an all-day drive.

The reaction of every single person we told before we went on the trip was the same: ‘Canberra?’

This was understandable as I too would have had the same reaction a couple of months ago.  Over the years, Canberra has gotten a pretty rough rep.  Most see it as a place with nothing to do, a boring dump for politicians and people looking for legal hardcore porn and fireworks.

However, after about 6 minutes of research, I discovered that there was more to Canberra than just that.  There’s still not a whole lot for people that live there, but for people looking for a weekend getaway (or maybe even 3 or 4 days), Canberra actually has plenty to offer in terms of things to see, do and eat.  In some ways, it reminded me of an Aussie version of Washington DC, except with significantly fewer guns.  There are lots of museums, galleries and good food — well, enough to keep you busy and satisfied for a few days — and it’s lighter on the wallet than most Australian capital cities.

So from here there will be a series of posts on my Canberra visit.  Stay tuned!