Might Have Missed on UK Netflix
‘Might Have Missed’ – a collection of the best films on streaming platforms that might have slipped under the radar. Let’s tackle UK’s Netflix…
An odd film to be on this list considering it won the Grand Prix at Cannes, but it seems to be buried very deep in the Netflix catalogue. It’s a romantic ghost story that challenges class disparity and systemic inequality in Senegal through the eyes of a seventeen year old. Ada is in love with Soulemaine yet she is being forced to marry another. After Soulemaine and his construction crew are lost at sea, they come back to haunt their old neighbourhood.
Director, Eliza Hittman, goes in search of masculine vulnerability by exploring classic machismo and insensitivity. In the midst of an existential crisis, Frankie tries escaping the doldrums by engaging in anti social behaviour with his friends and flirting with men over the internet. This escalates to him cruising gay beaches for men whilst trying to maintain a relationship with his girlfriend.
Birds Of Passage
Another outing for the Colombian director/producer duo, Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego. After the phenomenal Embrace of the Serpent, they swap an adventure into the heart of the Amazon for a journey into the Colombian desert where the indigenous Wayuu family struggle to adapt to the emerging drug trade of the 70s. Told through five ‘songs’ it’s a film that nicely waves realistic brutality with imaginative poeticism.
Two childhood sweethearts randomly bump into each other in their hometown twenty years after breaking up. What starts as a quick coffee quickly turns into them reminiscing about the past, and each other. The Duplass brothers have been stoking the fire of indie American cinema for the best part of a decade now and Blue Jay fits snugly into their canon. What sets it apart from the rest is Sarah Paulson, who’s natural charm adds a genuine warmth to the film.
A documentary exploring the drug problem and tensions fizzing along the U.S – Mexico border. By getting up close and personal with the subjects, the scope of the film narrows from geopolitical to become extremely humanistic. Speaking to people from every side of the issue (including Cartel members) conveys the real scale of the problem and by spending a lot of time with militia leader, Dr. Mireles, it poses some interesting questions about morality.
The Death Of Mr Lazarescu
I use comedy in the loosest sense because it’s deadder than pan. Yet the black humour in The Death of Mr Lazarescu does prevent the film from spiralling into an endless depression. Set in Bucharest, old drunk, Mr Lazarescu, is slung from hospital to hospital as medical staff endeavour to diagnose the problem. The incessant complaining and slow descent into death of Mr Lazarescu is broken up by the inconsequential bickering and timid conversation of side characters from which the film derives its humour.
This claustrophobic Danish thriller unravels over 90 minutes and numerous phone calls. It’s set in a police dispatch office, or two rooms to be more precise. Officer Holm picks up a call from a woman in distress explaining she’s been kidnapped. After the call is disconnected Holm sets to finding the woman and her kidnapper. Much like similar films before it (Phone Booth, Locke to name a couple) it relies heavily on audience investment but it’s not asking too much considering how well the film and the central performance draw you in.
The Interview (1998)
I hate using the word ‘cerebral’ these days, but it is a perfect example of a cerebral thriller that explores the fragility of truth and culpability. Hugo Weaving, pre Matrix fame, gives a game winning performance as unemployed Eddie Fleming. He’s dragged downtown to answer questions about crimes that nobody is sure he committed. What begins as a cat-and-mouse game quickly turns into something more psychologically intricate as Fleming engages in some mental fencing with the police.
It’s not a groundbreaking piece of cinema but it’s definitely a refreshing change for the genre. Too many modern horror films are heavily reliant on jump scares to illicit their shocks whereas Karyn Kusama lets the film slowly build up to create a naturally weird, tense atmosphere that plays more with what is thought than what is seen. A stirring, yet authentic, final third makes The Invitation a nice palate cleanser.
Let There Be Light
Not to be confused with the faith based film of the same name, this one actually does more to encourage self discovery and the nurturing of relationships than its Christian predecessor. Milan spends most of his time in Germany where he can earn a higher wage in order to provide for his family in Slovakia. On his return home he finds his son has become involved with a facist group and we follow the process of dealing with this less than favourable situation. It’s a well layered film that packs a lot more poignancy given the currency of the subject matter.
Jonah Hill’s first foray into directing lands with a very pleasant, if a bit average, coming of age tale. Set in 90s LA, Stevie is a teenager bouncing between his friends and a problematic life at home. There’s a few enjoyable observations and it never feels sluggish but some of it does feel a bit unsubstantial. Still, I think it’s worth a look and definitely shows promise for upcoming features.o