When reviewing Netflix films, it really does stretch the use of the term ‘cinema.’ Since all Netflix original films never saw the inside of an actual cinema, does it even really count?
Semantics aside, Netflix sure does hold an absolute ocean of original movies. Most are considered to be competent, but mediocre. On the other hand, there are some that really do deserve to be recognised as ‘cinematic’ marvels. Here is a list of the best of the best.
Adam Sandler truly is an acting anomaly. Most would like to slap his face if being forced to sit through something as abysmal as Jack and Jill, or most of his other recent disasters. But then he comes out with something like Uncut Gems, and the world is collectively forced to sit back, gaze in awe, and realise that the man really can act. When he wants.
Uncut Gems is an absolutely solid ‘slice of life’ look at a gambling addicted jewellery store owner. As the relatable, yet sympathetically flawed man deals with extremely grounded life challenges, including debt collectors and unreliable customers, the viewer is dragged along for the ride. It’s a darkly humorous, but deeply troubling experience, and 100% worth a watch.
Although technically not meant to be a Netflix original at the start of its life, The Irishman was eventually picked up by Netflix after Hollywood studios decided to pass. It was there loss though, as this Martin Scorsese epic turned out to be one of the best films of 2019.
The plot follows the life of Frank Sheeran, a legendary hitman that rose through the ranks of mafia life to the very top. It is unquestionably a long film, and certainly demands that the audience pay attention, but is an unashamed, expertly crafted look at events that truly rocked American society.
The Old Guard
When the plot of a film involves 4 immortals that are tasked with defending humanity, assumptions are that it is going to be a mediocre shlock festival. But against all expectations, The Old Guard manages to be something else entirely.
Rising above what could easily have been a nonsense premise, The Old Guard manages to be a sombre, deeply emotional tale of a group of eternal, unflinching soldiers that have started to question their place in an increasingly difficult to understand world.
There is action aplenty, but also a rock solid heart that makes this a real gem in an otherwise saturated action genre.
It isn’t the best on this list by a longshot, and certainly loses steam towards the end, but Bird Box has one of the strongest openings of any recent thriller. In this regards, it’s a winner.
The world undergoes a bizarre, truly disturbing wave of horror, with an unseen force driving anyone who sees it to commit suicide. The protagonist, played by Sandra Bullock, must survive in this new, horrifying world. But she is forced to be a mother to orphaned children along the way, forcing her to confront a resistance to motherhood that drives her character.