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Another Perfect Soldier

About Mostly Inadvertent Offences

Previous Entry Another Perfect Soldier Dec. 5th, 2011 @ 01:20 pm Next Entry
David Bowie was on my mind a lot yesterday for some reason. I mean, for a while now, my mind's been on how he's not been around much lately. According to Wikipedia, the most recent thing he did was in 2008 singing backup vocals on Scarlett Johansson's album of Tom Waits covers. Maybe he's finally, actually retired. I hope that's it. I heard Howard Stern say he'd heard a rumour Bowie was afraid of leaving his home because he'd gotten fat. I guess he is a bit vain--he did get a facelift. Anyway, I hope he's okay.

A Bowie song, "Kooks", even turned up in Hanna, the movie I watched last night. I probably wouldn't have watched it if I'd realised that its director, Joe Wright, was the same guy who directed Atonement and the 2005 Pride and Prejudice--I found both those movies intimately goofy. But Hanna wasn't so bad. Maybe a lightweight action film is the perfect fit for Wright's drama queen goofiness.

To be sure, Hanna's not a great film. It's a pretty standard story of a genetically enhanced soldier gone rogue, in this case a little girl played by the talented Saoirse Ronan. I wonder how these career paths for child actors come about, how some get shunted to the Disney Channel and up through the pop star tube, while others are diverted to the serious adult drama path. Anyway, it's Ronan's performance that makes the movie work at all. She gets you invested even though her character isn't put together too well by the screenplay. She has the standard, outsider colliding with the familiar modern world story. Though, having grown up in the woods with her father (Eric Bana) who taught her to be a perfect killing machine, you'd have thought teaching her about things like light switches and televisions would have helped her operate more effectively to that end.

Cate Blanchett plays the uptight CIA agent Marissa Wiegler who's bent on destroying Hanna. Even though Hanna takes down three American soldiers and another CIA agent at the beginning of the film, for some reason Wiegler decides to go after Hanna and her father with just the owner of German night club and his three goons. She has a couple U.S. government aids, but once they're killed, they're never replaced, which has some dire implications for the staffing situation at the CIA, I think.

What's worse is that Wiegler's motives are never quite clear. First she instructs people to get Hanna alive, then she's trying to kill Hanna, and there's no real explanation for the change, or why she was trying to keep her alive in the first place when apparently the whole operation was about destroying any evidence about the super soldier project. Hanna's father, though, is from the beginning marked for death, which leads to a lot of scenes where I was saying to the screen, "So why don't you shoot him?" There's one scene where Bana runs across the length of a vacant lot with no cover, straight at the night club owner and his goons, who watch him coming the whole way. There's a scene where Bana takes out seven or eight American agents in a parking garage that had to be one of the least convincing action scenes I've seen in years.

But I did say this movie's not so bad, right? I really can't say more than that Saoirse Ronan does a good job. Blanchett makes her character kind of interesting, too, brushing her teeth fanatically and having a huge collection of old fashioned shoes. She picks out a cute little green pair specifically for hunting Hanna.

Her face off with Hanna at the end has kind of a nice visual, as Weigler steps out of a huge wolf head.

I clicked through to the end of the credits to see if there was some extra little vignette. Nope. I half expect to see Samuel L. Jackson turn up after every movie's credits now to recruit the protagonist. Wouldn't that be funny if he did? Like if at the end of Bridesmaids he showed up at Kristen Wiig's apartment, "The hilarious hijinks and touching resolution to your dilemma have impressed my organisation. If you're ready, you can be of great service to the world."

Twitter Sonnet #330

Late orange insects won't address oak leaf tarp.
Early nineties bug eyed bears won't expand.
Simple mountains observe streams move a cart.
Oregano nightmares pinch the gourmand.
Highways ignite under tamale treads.
Mike and Ike rain showers Christmas jelly.
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