A need for belonging runs deep through Hanna, the Amazon Prime Video series starring Esme Creed-Miles, Joel Kinnaman, and Mireille Enos.
The search for something so integral to the soul crosses over multiple countries and violent encounters, where Hanna, a child experiment-turned-escapee, attempts to find both herself and somewhere to truly call home.
The show’s strength comes in using character’s bonds against them. Caring is a weakness in Hanna, used as a weapon in big and small ways, and always impactful and consequential. Creator David Farr digs deeply into into what makes his characters tick, what makes them who they are. When not in some thrilling sequence, this is what makes the show work so well.
When Hanna focuses on the main players, of Hanna (Creed-Miles), Erik (Kinnaman), and Marissa (Enos), the show holds deeply on tensions that feel long in the making, wounds these characters carry with them mentally just as much as the physical ones they endure. These wounds have festered, causing a deep rift and driving the action.
But the show also finds itself far too interested in giving Hanna a proper teenage life in the midst of all the action spy games. Some of it is successful, while some feels wildly out of turn for the show and, as a result, comes across as distraction, stalling before getting to the next big thing.
It’s nice that Hanna makes friends, and some of it works wonderfully, but teenage drama about liking boys and going to parties, when extended out in the middle of the season, creates a burden on keeping things interesting.
But at its core, Hanna is about just that, and so it becomes a conundrum. We need to see Hanna in normal circumstances as enticement for a hope of normalcy in her life. These are the issues someone her age would struggle with, and someone thrown in without the proper social skills helps show how unskilled Hanna is compared to her skills in combat.
There is some coldness in the performances, but by design. No one in the show is without their difficulties or stolen innocence, leaving them as broken, raw shells whose best foot forward is in their work. Moments where these shells are revitalized deliver more pathos, as a particular pairing brings later in the season.
The action comes in bursts and creates spectacle at times, leading to impressive stunt work and a whole lot of headshots. Creed-Miles and Kinnaman are fantastic in these sequences, where both intensity and a level of physicality help portray fiercely violent people taking down anything in their path.
The season is chock full of slick imagery and gorgeous locales, the varied country-hopping giving the show ever-changing eye candy. There is a loose, excited filmmaking style at times, one particular standout being the third episode, where location and action work in unison wonderfully.
Hanna, despite some faults and lengthy pauses in the main story, is a precise action thriller where meticulous character work, for the most part, complements a rather satisfying eight episodes. The three leads all shine as desperate pawns trying to find something better; Creed-Miles especially is excellent in the show. Hanna is a worthy investment of your time, and another Amazon original that delivers surprises.
Hanna arrives on Amazon Prime Video on March 29th. All eight episodes were provided for review.