The most dangerous girl on the planet is the focus of Prime Video’s excellent new drama series
This is an advanced (mostly) spoiler-free review of the Season 1 premiere of Amazon Prime Video’s Hanna. The episode will be available for 24 hours, from February 3rd at 9:30 pm ET until February 4th at 9:30 pm ET. All 8 episodes will drop in March 2019.
The tried and true narrative trope of a battle-hardened older man molding a young girl into an efficient killing machine gets a new addition with Amazon Prime Video’s electrifying action thriller, Hanna. Based on the 2011 film of the same name, and scripted by David Farr (co-writer of the movie), the series feels like a stylish sibling to Fox’s Logan and Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. And while you’ve probably seen this storytelling method before, Hanna stands apart with thrilling action and memorable performances from Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon) and Esme Creed-Miles (Dark River).
In the same vein as Laura in Logan and Ellie in The Last of Us, much of Hanna’s life has been filled with violence, sorrow, and fear. As a baby, Hanna was kept in a clandestine facility until her father, Eric (Kinnaman), rescued her. Free from her captors, Eric and Hanna now live deep in the forest, far from any onlookers that might want to do them harm. As a former government operative, Eric trains Hanna in hand-to-hand combat, hunting, and gunplay. When most girls her age are thinking about taking their first sip of alcohol or going to a school dance, Hanna’s day-to-day consists of survival tactics and quiet dinners with her father.
The episode picks up steam when Hanna journeys beyond the confines of her home and meets a teenage boy working in the forest. Hanna’s first encounter with someone other than her father is a vivid reminder that at its core – even with all of the cool training montages and government conspiracy speak, this show is a coming-of-age story. Creed-Miles’ performance in this particular scene is full of charm and wit. She is somehow able to make the viewer feel like they’re experiencing something for the first time too. When she’s offered a Snickers bar, it’s clear that she’s never had chocolate and the joyous expression on her face is palpable.
Even when the ass kicking starts, the English-born actress uses her innate ferocity to great effect. The fight choreography is excellent, giving the scenes a sense of believability – none of the punches, kicks, or stabbings feel superfluous. Sure, she’s a fifteen-year-old girl who’s taking down military-trained men twice her size, but maybe if we lived in the woods and trained every day with our larger-than-life dad we could survive too.
Kinnaman’s portrayal of Eric is stoic, but not without its charm. In some of the episode’s quieter moments, when Eric and Hanna are discussing American movies or how to say a particular sentence in multiple languages, the tough facade comes down, with Kinnaman’s affection towards Hanna radiating through his eyes. Unlike the film that preceded it, this version of Hanna doesn’t have to rush through its narrative, giving Farr and his team ample time for character development.
On a macro level, there’s a diabolical government organization trying to kill Hanna and Eric – led by a woman named Marissa (played by Kinnaman’s former The Killing co-star Mireille Enos). So far, there’s not much else to define them other than simply being the baddies; however, there is the mystery surrounding Hanna’s birth and some of the heightened abilities she exhibits throughout the episode that beg further exploration. It’s too early to tell if Enos will be an impactful villain for Season 1, but it is nice to see her and Kinnaman back in action, even if they’re on opposing sides.