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WARRIOR NUN gets 7/10 21st Century Joan of Arc


Created by Simon Barry
Starring Alba Baptista, Toya Turner, Thekla Reuten, Lorena Andrea, Kristina Tonteri-Young, Tristan Ulloa
Network: Netflix

7/10

Based on the Canadian comic Warrior Nun Areala by Ben Dunn, comes this fantasy drama series created by Simon Barry. The series is narrated, and led, by Portuguese actress Alba Baptista who plays Ava Silva, a 19-year old tetraplegic orphan who soon wakes up amidst a supernatural battle championed by an ancient sect of warrior nuns.

Warrior Nun is sub-categorised as an occult detective series, which explains the somewhat slow burn plot. It is highly focused on character development, and themes of sisterhood, loneliness, and our place in the world – including our stake in the battle of good vs. evil. The cinematography is brilliant, using aerial shots and single-camera, the audience transported to various areas of Spain and Italy. The high-grade special effects sell the supernatural in a way most Hollywood films dream they could, compacted with a score that plays and amplifies the panic, distortion, and loneliness felt by Ava Silva – to the brilliantly choreographed fight sequences, orchestrated by strong female leads and supporting cast. The series is Alba Baptista’s debut into English-language work, with a filmography spanning back to 2012. Her immersion in to the character is stunning to watch, matched with strong and eclectic dialogue, peppered with sarcasm and bleak humour most millennials will enjoy.

Ava is an incredible flawed and selfish character, with a gusto that is rarely seen in female protagonists. After her resurrection, she is faced with being the “chosen one” – which many at the Order of the Cruciform Sword debate, and harbour ill-will towards. The juxtaposition between Ava’s carpe diem attitude, and their rigorous teachings, cause for a constant battle across 10 episodes; which is in and of itself a flaw. With this in mind, Warrior Nun is filled with unnecessary moments, which only lead to unanswered plot-points, some greater than others.

For a time, Ava has a love interest, and then all of a sudden, he vanishes as quickly as the demons do – holding a mere fraction of relevance before becoming irrelevant. By the end of the season, the role of Salvius (Thekla Reuten) is a little unfulfilling – and frankly, when she came on screen, I was waiting for it to return to Ava. Despite these questions, it’s hopeful that they are answered in an upcoming second season – although it is yet to be announced.

Warrior Nun is a great example of taking an interesting comic book concept and breathing new life into it from an international perspective – something Netflix has been championing for the past few years. From the trailer to the final episode, it reanimates a dying genre and invigorates an audience’s interest in television once more. Especially during our current circumstances, Warrior Nun is a fun and immersive series to get behind.

JOSHUA HALL HAINES

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