Three Reasons to Watch "Reprisal" on Hulu

Photo: Hulu

"Reprisal" is an entirely unique series that has been marketed as a revenge story. However, series star Abigail Spencer noted at New York Comic Con that this description might not be entirely accurate. "I think this might be a redemption story. I think that's the interesting thing for all of the characters. You really see everyone just trying to find where their future is going, to right a wrong."

When the series first opens, the audience is introduced to Spencer's lead character with two aliases, Katherine Harlow and Doris Quinn. Her story is not only central to the overall narrative, but also serves as a catalyst to many of the most interesting dramatic plot points.

Having watched the entire first season ahead of it's official premiere to the public, I've narrowed down three main points to convince enquiring minds to tune in and binge this compelling piece of art.

Photo: Hulu


The show merges various aesthetic styles and pieces including 1950's hot rods and burlesque houses, 1960's bikers, and 1970's muscle cars. There's also a bold visual presentation in various technical aspects. The club/burlesque house run by Joel (Rodrigo Santoro's character) has excellent production design with bold, warm colour palettes that lends itself really well to gorgeous cinematography. There is also a repeated use of dynamic effects, such as split screens and moving panels that at times make the show feel more like a comic book or graphic novel that has leapt off the page onto the big screen. The creative team working on "Reprisal" have a deep understanding that film is first and foremost a visual art form and take every opportunity to create a world that leaves lasting images in the viewer's mind.

Photo: Hulu


Whatever artistic pieces you find yourself comparing "Reprisal" to, such as David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, or old-school neo-noir films, one of the greatest strengths that sets "Reprisal" apart is the multiple leading women. In addition to Abigail Spencer, Madison Davenport (Meredith), Bethany Anne Lind (Molly Quinn), and Lea DeLaria (Queenie) all excel in their roles. Each of these female characters is more than the buzzword of 'strong'. Beyond that, they are interesting, dynamic, and different from one another. Each character undergoes a compelling journey that makes you root for them to survive. The world of "Reprisal" is a violent one, and though these women are not immune from this aspect, they're also not on the receiving end of that violence in an excessive or regressive way like so many other 'gangster' stories that precede them. It never feels gratuitous or simply done for the sake of it, but is executed in a manner that makes perfect sense based on the world they live in.

Photo: Hulu


In the lead-up to the "Reprisal" premiere, Mena Massoud is one of the lead actors that has been tapped to do an extra portion of promotional media. During an interview with the Daily Beast, he revealed that he has not been given a single audition since Aladdin. It's an astonishing revelation considering that he played the titular role of a giant Disney blockbuster that grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. Yet somehow this news is not surprising to members of socially ostracised groups that are accustomed to being under-represented in Hollywood productions.

If there is any question as to whether Massoud can play a wider range of characters than a charming thief that can sing and dance, "Reprisal" squashes those doubts and then some. Massoud is the emotionally conflicted leading man in a realm similar to James Dean's persona. Ethan Hart is thrust into the world biker gangs, somewhat reluctantly, and struggles to make sense of processing the events that lead him to this point. It's a significantly more mature and dark character arc that Massoud plays beautifully. This is the type of rich material that he should be getting offered in numerous auditions. If Aladdin embodies childlike wonder, Reprisal digs deep into adult angst, and at the centre of it all, Massoud captivates and charms his audience.

"Reprisal" premieres on Hulu December 6.


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