Netflix is chockablock with pretty much every kind of genre and movie for you to enjoy.
But, as with anything, there's the good stuff and the bad stuff - and that's where we come in. Every month, we pluck gems from the Netflix library in a specific genre - for example, horror - for you to watch.
This time around, it's drama. We kick things off with...
War movies don't get much more epic than 'Dunkirk'. You've got Christopher Nolan at the helm; and a HUGE cast that includes Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, Mark Rylance and Barry Keoghan. The scale and spectacle of the action and emotional heights are just extraordinary. And its playout, whereby Allied soldiers are stranded on Dunkirk beach as the enemies close in, is exhilarating. Couple that with a soundtrack from legend Hans Zimmer and you have a masterpiece.
You've probably heard much about 'The Irishman', directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, by now. De Niro plays the titular killer-for-hire, whose life and career are tracked across multiple timelines. It's no easy feat dedicating over three hourse to watch something in a single sitting on Netflix. But we assure you it's worth it. The crime drama is Scorsese's most introspective feature yet. It's also as entertaining and thought-provoking as we've come to expect of the auteur.
One of Netflix’s best movies to date is a simple story at its heart. 'Marriage Story' follows a stage director, Charlie (Adam Driver) and his wife, actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), as they go through a divorce. Driver and Johansson give the performances of their careers and there are some great supports in the cast including Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Julie Hagerty. It’s smart and heart-rending with humorous and compassionate instances. Its subject matter could easily turn repugnant. But because the love and care between Charlie and Nicole is so clear, it’s impossible to not be moved by their plight.
'Thelma & Louise'
There are a number of levels on which to enjoy the 1991 classic that is ‘Thelma & Louise.’ It’s the movie that introduced Brad Pitt to the world (and he is gaw-geous in it) and demonstrates the incredible range of director Ridley Scott (the mind behind ‘Alien’, ’Blade Runner’ and ‘Gladiator’). It remains one of the best feminist films out there with Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis giving unforgettable performances in the titular roles. In certain aspects, it’s a movie that's more fitting now than ever.
'Boyhood' topped our best movies of the decade countdown, and with good reason. Throughout the entire movie, the characters that Richard Linklater and the cast have created feel truly real. There is an honesty to it, a depth of humanity that is captivating and compelling. 'Boyhood' is a triumph, a masterpiece of storytelling that charts a life and finds beauty in the most trivial and banal of things in a way that can't be readily quantified until we see the tapestry unfurled at the very end.
'The Social Network'
With all the changes that have been happening to Facebook of late, why not watch the movie that depicts how the whole social media platform started? The film’s great cast boasts Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, and Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. Aaron Sorkin’s incisive script earned the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
This period-set drama also boasts an impressive cast, including Emma Thompson (who earned her first Oscar for her lead performance), Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Redgrave. Based on E.M. Forster’s (‘A Room With a View’, ‘A Passage to India’) classic novel, the film revolves around three families. A friendship between the eldest daughter of one family and the matriarch of another leads to the latter leaving her estate to the former. Her family refuses to carry out her dying wish, which has far-reaching consequences for all.
There aren’t many memorable Netflix original films, but ‘Mudbound’ truly is a gem. The movie earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Song (both for Mary J. Blige), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, the film relates how two World War II veterans, one white and one black, struggle with racism and PTSD when they return home to farm in rural Mississippi.
Likely the darkest entry on our list, ‘Prisoners’ focusses on the abduction of two young girls in Pennsylvania. It then tracks the subsequent search for the abductor by the police. Dissatisfied with the police’s efforts, the father of one of the missing girls takes matters into his own hands. Starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film is directed by the extraordinary Denis Villeneuve. Villeneuve also helmed ‘Sicario,’ ‘Arrival’, and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ (as well as the upcoming ‘Dune’ remake).
'Gone Girl' confirmed that yup, David Fincher's still got it in buckets and spades. Based on the Gillian Flynn bestseller (Flynn also adapted the screenplay), it follows the aftermath of Nick Dunne's (Ben Affleck) wife Amy's (Rosamund Pike) disappearance. If you haven't seen this or read the book, that summary will suffice as the twists and turns the plot takes will shock and astound you.
If you're a fan of 'Creed' and 'Black Panther' star Michael B. Jordan, then you should check out the film that launched his career. Interestingly enough, like 'Creed' and 'Black Panther', it has the same director in Ryan Coogler. Based on a true story, 'Fruitvale Station' depicts the events leading to the death of Oscar Grant. Grant was killed in 2009 by a police officer at the titular Fruitvale district station in Oakland. It's a succinct and very powerful feature.
'12 Years a Slave'
Michael Fassbender's most terrifying role to date is his performance as slave owner Edwin Epps in '12 Years a Slave.' The multi-Academy award winning movie follows Solomon Northup. Solomon was a free African-American man who was kidnapped by con men and sold into slavery in 1841. Brilliant performances are given by Chiwetel Ejiofor as the lead, Luipa Nyong'o as Patsey (who won an Oscar for her performance), and Paul Dano as the cruel John Tibeats.
Another stellar performance from Christian Bale leads this revisionist western that recalls the likes of 'Bone Tomahawk' and 'Unforgiven'. An army captain named Joseph Blocker working at Fort Berringer, New Mexico, in 1892, is tasked with bringing a Cheyenne chief and his family back to their tribe in Montana, thus he assembles a team for the assignment, confronting his prejudicial tendencies and the many dangers of the west along the way. 'Hostiles' is a compelling, poignant drama with phenomenal performances (from Rosamund Pike as well as Bale). It has a script that sizzles and a stunning backdrop. It helps that the director is Scott Cooper, whose past works include 'Out of the Furnace', 'Black Mass' and 'Crazy Heart' (the latter of which earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar). He brings something special out in the actors he works with.