Hanna is just one of a number of critically-acclaimed films we’ve seen recently adapted to television. David Farr, one of the film’s original writers, led the attempt to revisit this story and characters to adapt the 111-minute feature into a series. While the transition from film to television can often imbue greater depth into a movie’s narrative and characters, this is not the case with Hanna.
The plot of the series replicates that of the original film. Erik Heller (Joel Kinnaman) and his adopted daughter Hanna (Esme Creed-Miles) reside in a remote woodland within Poland. Erik is a former mercenary who has been training Hanna in his trade for the past fifteen years. While a whole episode is dedicated to something that was covered in less than half the time in the film, the pair eventually go their separate ways around Europe and northern African in an attempt to bring down the people they are hiding from.
The biggest problem with Hanna is its glacial pacing. There are far too many moments when the camera stares blankly at a character in an attempt to give added dramatic weight to a scene. Instead, such a ponderous pace quickly becomes monotonous, and the whole series is made wearier by a noticeable lack of depth within its conventional plot.
Hanna is also painfully littered with clichéd dialogue and action. The montage of Hanna being trained in the first episode lacks originality in its depictions of the titular character shooting a gun, running through woods, and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. When Hanna questions why she has gone through such arduous training, the only answer Erik replies with is, “Because one day I might not be able to protect you.”
It is clear that Hanna is curious about the world beyond the life she knows, but her journey of self-discovery is simply not interesting. Once the first episode’s protracted character introduction is complete, Hanna meets and befriends Sophie (Rhianne Barreto), a typical temperamental teenager on holiday with her family. She introduces Hanna to guys and “going out”, a disappointingly disengaging section of the show. I understand the creators’ intentions in showing a ‘normal adolescent lifestyle’, but this element of Hanna’s development as a character is nevertheless tedious and gratuitous.
Once the first two trying episodes have passed, the thin plot begins to finally disclose itself. Unfortunately, Hanna’s plodding storytelling and banal dialogue still remain, and it’s almost certain that the audience will feel as haggard and exhausted as the central characters by the series finale.
The only recompense Hanna offers is its performances by the central cast, particularly from Mireille Enos. As Marissa Wiegler, she gives a remarkably composed performance, but her character only begins to gain discernible focus midway through the series.
One must wonder about the point of this series because it is bereft of poignancy and completely unexciting. Despite a more naturalistic tone than the feature film, this version of Hanna feels overstretched (notably so for a series that only lasts eight episodes). Though there may be a second season planned, the first is so painfully laborious I could not possibly recommend it.