Joe Wright the director best known for British period dramas like Atonement and Pride and Prejudice opens his first action film Hanna starring Saorise Ronan as a teen assassin this Friday. He screened the film at Wondercon in San Francisco this past weekend and really stuck it to his colleague Zack Snyder for the gender politics in Sucker Punch. I find it very interesting and refreshing that the crap that Snyder tried to get away with in Sucker Punch is not flying and that others -- including male directors -- are calling him out.
When talking about Sucker Punch and its faux attempt at women's empowerment through short skirts and guns he said boldly: "that's bullshit."
I couldn't agree more. As I said last week, giving a young woman a gun does not make it a "women's empowerment film."
Now that gets to Hanna. Joe Wright gives us a young girl, Hanna, who was trained to kick serious ass by her father (Eric Bana) to protect herself. She is a brutal killing machine and doesn't think about who she is killing, she just does it because that's the only way for her to stay alive.
The thing is that she is a girl. She reminds me more of Hit Girl in Kick Ass than she does of the young women in Sucker Punch. She doesn't wear short skirts, doesn't gyrate to seduce men. She's not a prisoner in a brothel. There is a fine line (which sadly is getting lower and lower) where a girl is still a girl and not a sex object. Hanna is not a sex object.
What I think is so interesting about people's reaction to Sucker Punch is that I really believe that Snyder and Warner Brothers thought that this film would sell because on the surface it is a typical Hollywood movie where sex sells. They thought they could gets the guys in with the short skirts and cute girls and the girls in with the "women's empowerment" message.
But it didn't work. The fact that both men and women -- critics and audience members -- are repulsed by Sucker Punch is even more heartening.
Could it be that maybe we are turning a corner here? One can only hope.