Amazon Prime’s latest original show Hanna is an updated rendition of the 2011 film with the same name in a series format of eight episodes. The show follows the life of Hanna, a teenage girl raised by her father in the isolation of an Eastern European forest and trained to be a proficient assassin. The story begins when it is time for Hanna to leave her life in the forest and execute the mission her father seeks of her. Through the eight episodes, we learn why Hanna was raised to kill, how her life is inextricably linked to a CIA program, how she survives in the throes of typical human lifestyle and whether she accomplishes her mission.
The long format of the show provides an opportunity for its creator David Farr, who was also the screenwriter of the 2011 film, to explore Hanna’s character by adding more dimensions and enabling her to appear more real and plausible. However, the storyline doesn’t hold its own as it slows down to show us more of the protagonist’s emotional struggle while compromising on a better suited fast-paced narrative. At various points, the show seems confused, the surprise elements seem apparent and it becomes obvious that the storyline has been forced in various directions to fit into a series format. As expected, the show has also changed various plot points of the 2011 film to pave way for the second season of the show.
The young British actress Esme Creed-Miles gives a noteworthy performance as a character who sways between teenage angst and an animal like determination to survive. The two other leads of the show are the father (Erik Heller) played by Joel Kinnaman and the shrewd CIA Agent (Marissa Wiegler) played by the wonderful Mireille Enos. Both the actors have done justice to their characters however underwritten.
Mireille Enos is especially successful in making her character look incredibly menacing while adorning a warm smile, thus becoming a portrait of insincerity. One of the best performances of the show comes from Rhianne Barreto who plays Sophie – a city-bred, entitled teenager who is always at the brink of having a nasty argument with her parents but is also able to shower her friends with warmth and understanding. She is thoroughly engaging and could very well be the best part of the show!
The action sequences were also fairly engaging, although the protagonist never makes a wrong move or faces someone her equal; which definitely indicates some lazy writing. The show depicts scenes across European cities, countryside and forests and that is definitely a treat for the viewer’s eyes. In various scenes, the characters converse in German and French which adds considerable depth to the show. Each episode bears a simple title which indicates the conflict which the episode tries to resolve. Though not ingeniously, the show does try to one-up the film in various ways and it seems to have ended up trying a little too hard.
Overall, this show might just end up becoming an example in the study of what happens when a good enough film is transformed into an episodic show to satisfy the artistic curiosity of its makers. This one is definitely a mixed bag. Binge-worthy if you don’t find anything better.
Rating – 2.5/5 | Grade – C+
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