From David Lynch to Greta Gerwig: The best 20 films on Netflix right now
In these truly surreal times, it is the pillars of society, Netflix, Amazon, Now TV and more that we must turn to. Though with Disney+ now joining the fray, the jungle of on-demand entertainment is becoming increasingly more difficult to traverse.
Of the vast collection of films that streaming services have to offer, the crème de la crème of cinema is often pushed to the back, opting for the star-studded dregs to showcase the front page. No matter how many times Netflix demands its viewing, Speilberg’s bizarre BFG is the last thing this planet needs during the current coronavirus crisis.
To sift the diamonds from the rough, Far Out have put together 20 of the best films on Netflix, below. Tucked away in the back of the streaming service for your viewing pleasure:
Blue Velvet (1986)
Director: David Lynch
David Lynch’s dreamy American classic follows a young man, whom upon discovering a severed human ear in a field, embarks on an investigation, weaving between a gang of psychopathic criminals and an enigmatic nightclub singer.
Where documentary biopics following music’s most lauded bands and solo artists are commonplace, Morgan Neville’s fantastic 20 feet from stardom, looks into the lives of the backup singers who have travelled with the best, but never found individual stardom.
Alongside co-stars, Cuba Gooding Jr and Laurence Fishburne, Singleton’s film is a heartbreaking fable of the adolescent transition amid the turbulent social environment of the Los Angeles ghettos.
Director: Gaspar Noé
If there’s anything you need in these quarantined times, it probably isn’t Gasper Noe’s horribly intenseClimax, though don’t let this detract from the fact that it is an exemplary piece of filmmaking.
Following a French dance troupe who are spiked with LSD in an isolated villa, this is a hellish journey into insanity and depravity, with a really satisfying dance sequence at the start. If anything, just watch it for that.
Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)
Director: Stacy Peralta
Quite possibly the best skateboarding film ever made, Stacy Peralta’s documentary about the legendary 1970s Zephyr skating team chronicles their story from plucky, rebellious teenagers to some of the sports greatest pioneers.
Dogtown and Z-Boys maintains a vigorous, inspiring energy, alike the very individuals themselves.
Faces Places (2017)
Directors: Agnès Varda, JR
Journeying through rural France, filmmaker Agnes Varda and photographer J.R form an unlikely bond, in Faces Places, the late filmmakers’ final feature-length work.
An antidote to the current quarantine situation, the bond between Varda and J.R is a truly joyous affair, travelling from town to town creating poignant poetry en route.
First Reformed (2017)
Director: Paul Schrader
Writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed features a quietly compelling Ethan Hawke as a solitary reverend in upstate New York, battling against his own faith, in the face of torment and despair.
Hawke leads a dark, despairing character study, emotionally-charged in its critique of contemporary society and the environmental attitudes.
From Dusk till Dawn (1996)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
If there’s anything that can save us from this spate of boredom, it might just be From Dusk till Dawn, the crime drama come-vampire horror from the words of Quentin Tarantino and the direction of Robert Rodriguez.
The result is a campy precursor to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with all the stylish gore, and farcical action you’d expect from Tarantino and Rodriguez, respectively.
Good Time (2017)
Directors: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Before the Safdie brothers shot to prominence with this years Uncut gems (also available on Netflix), they journeyed through the underbelly of New York in Good Time, following the tale of two brothers who fail a bank robbery, leaving one to break the other out of prison.
This electrifying account of New York, is a panic attack of intensity, a frantic, frenetic ride through the back streets of the wheezing city.
The Hunt (2012)
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Thomas Vinterberg’s best film since his acclaimed 1998, inaugural Dogma 1995 film Festen, Mads Mikkelsen stars as a misfortunate father, framed for a lie which the local town against him.
Darkly disturbing and frequently infuriating, Vinterberg’s excellent film explores how lies can contort, and manifest as twisted truth, scrutinising rationality in the face of supposed immorality.
Infernal Affairs (2002)
Directors: Andrew Lau, Alan Mak
The often forgotten original to Scorsese’s The Departed, Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs follows the same cat-and-mouse crime caper as the remake, as an undercover cop and a mole in the police department find themselves on the hunt for each other.
Vigorously intense, this Hong-Kong thriller is explosive both in action and emotional heft.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig’s Ladybird, is one of the greatest contemporary coming-of-age tales, following the artistic ‘Ladybird’ and her navigation through the end of high school in Sacramento, California.
Delicate relationships form a heartbreaking tale of the adolescent transition, in this palpable character-study examining a parental relationship during such a time of change.
Director: Rob Reiner
Despite the bleak title, Misery isn’t as miserable as you might expect. Based on the Stephen King book of the same name, Rob Reiner’s Misery recounts the tale of a renowned writer who after crashing his car, is taken in to be cared for by one of his biggest fans.
Kathy Bates commands the story as the manic super-fan, putting the injured author through torture, whilst somehow retaining a dark wit and charm.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Netflix couldn’t have timed their release of the whole Studio Ghibli catalogue any better, from Spirited Away to Porco Rosso, the whole collection is there for your escapist enjoyment.
We at Far Out, have opted for the studio’s first-ever feature, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, as our in particular recommendation. Totally fantastical and lovingly crafted, this wondrous fairytale follows Nausicaa’s struggle to protect her planet from two warring nations and the poisonous jungles ravishing the earth.
Director: Dan Gilroy
Featuring an exemplary villainous performance from protagonist Jake Gyllenhaal, Dan Gilroy’s debut feature, Nightcrawler, is a visceral thriller, come thought-provoking drama about Los Angeles crime journalism.
The King of Comedy meets Network, as Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom stalks the downtown streets sadistically searching for a story, either factual or fabricated…
Paris is Burning (1990)
Director: Jennie Livingston
A seminal piece of LGBTQ filmmaking, Paris is Burning follows the New York 1980s drag scene and its many individual pioneers .
Illuminating drag to the wider world, Jennie Livingston’s film is a wildly entertaining, joyous celebration of the scene, opening conversation and education to late twentieth-century society.
Director: Oliver Stone
One third of Oliver Stone’s renowned ‘war trilogy’, Platoon confronts the horrors of the Vietnam war and the argument of morality in the face of such terror.
Masterfully shot, Stone’s account of the Vietnam war is an intense battle, written with deft poignancy, it might just be the best Vietnam war film ever made.
Director: David Cronenberg
Sci-fi spins into experimental territory in David Cronenberg’s iconic Videodrome where a sleazy TV-programmer sources and obsesses over a new type of show that alters his perception of reality.
Like much of Cronenberg’s work, Videodrome is joyfully creative and blissfully camp in its depiction of a technological dystopia where smut and vulgarity rules mind and body. Long live the new flesh.
The Wailing (2016)
Director: Na Hong-jin
Na Hong-jin’s complex Korean horror The Wailing is a uniquely surreal take on the zombie sub-genre. Part mystery thriller, part epidemic horror, The Wailing charts a mysterious sickness infecting a small isolated village, when a policeman is forced to investigate in order to save his daughter.
Surprisingly funny and deviously entertaining, The Wailing demands your attention, just don’t be put off by the near three-hour runtime.
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Director: Lynne Ramsay
British filmmaking powerhouse Lynne Ramsay directs Joaquin Phoenix in this ode to Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. The film follows a traumatised war veteran who tracks down, saves and protects a missing girl, despite the repercussions to his physical and mental wellbeing.
This brutally arresting thriller bears resemblance to 2019’s Joker, though ditches the laters’ counterfeit magnitude and replaces it with genuine ferocity.