At the heart of the very small thriller To Hannah, there is something interesting. You do not have to do much as a viewer to understand what it is and what it is triggered by. Unfortunately, its effect on the film is hard to miss. The best thing about the movie actually does not help it at all. As the credits roll, you may notice the inconsistency of the film. Nevertheless, the story will stay with you on some unconscious level. In the end, it’s all that matters.
IN To Hannah a small town is awakened due to a tragedy. A bank has been robbed and set on fire. Only ruins are left and people are in anesthesia. Such things do not happen in this snow-covered, yet cozy city.
A man is on the run. Maybe he’s the culprit behind the arson. Maybe not. When he arrives at a couple’s home, he will face the dark reality of some uncovered secrets. He takes them hostage, but the situation is far from traditional and ideal. Add to the formula a few law enforcement agents who are not in tune with each other and you get a thriller with slow burning that hits the right targets and misses some.
This is a film that comes from a surplus of inspiration and the lack of control that sometimes weakens independent films. You can tell that from a distance. It’s a tribute. A tribute to films we have seen before, with scripts written by talented writers rooted in the framework, as well as a moral dilemma that was always talked about in a third act.
To Hannah do the same. Its conclusion is long and it works well. Unfortunately, the film takes too long to get there, and viewers first have to deal with some comedy that is not funny, characters that are far from sympathetic, and a romantic association that does not work at all. Too many tests and trials that do To Hannah an experiment that is obviously trying too hard to fit into an effective genre model.
Yet so much heart and passion cannot go unnoticed. This is not a bad movie. Far from. It just insists on using unnecessary elements to make the story and the main characters work. When To Hannah is a depiction of a very small conflict that takes place in a house with too many secrets, it is actually compelling. The story naturally flows in the direction of a predictable thriller, and then it shocks you right to the core with an inexplicable last event.
When I say To Hannah is an experiment, it also talks about some controversial decisions from the screenwriters. The last dramatic turning point was unexpected and I still do not know if it works or not. Maybe it’s just not my place to question something I can not really understand. I’d rather let the authors tell you that. If it serves a beautiful last shot in the snow, then OK. If justice comes in a bizarre way, why not?
Do yourself a favour. Give independent genre films a chance to blow your mind. Thrillers is perhaps everyone’s favorite genre. And sometimes they work like any other great studio movie would. To Hannah does not aim to be everyone’s cup of tea. But wouldn’t that be a boring repetition of something you saw before?