Hidden gems to stream on Netflix

Beat the boredom

We’ve all been there, scrolling (and scrolling and scrolling) through Netflix trying to pick something to watch. Do you watch a thriller? A horror? A comedy? Maybe you’ll watch The Office for the 3rd time? Don’t worry, we’re here to help stop the endless scrolling with a few hidden gems you can stream right now.


Snowpiercer

You may have heard of a little movie called Parasite that cleaned up at the Oscars this year including winning the best picture and best director categories but before his surge to the top, Bong Joon-ho directed another fantastic film called Snowpiercer. Set during a second Ice Age, survivors live on a constantly moving luxury train that is separated into a class system, with the poorest living in the caboose. It is expertly directed by the now Oscar-winning Bong Joon-ho with chilling performances led by Captain America himself, Chris Evans. If you loved Parasite (who didn’t?), be sure to check this one out.


Shadow

Set during the “Three Kingdoms” era in Chinese history, Shadow tells the story of a brilliant general’s plan to defeat a rival kingdom. Filled with twists and political intrigue, you wouldn’t be far off in comparing Shadow to some of the works of William Shakespeare. The film’s greyscale colour scheme is expertly used to create a sense of melancholy and make the splashes of red in the wonderful fight scenes pop off the screen. One of the most underrated and visually striking movies of last year, this one lives up to the lofty legacy of director Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of the Flying Daggers).


Goon

The role of the “enforcer” is all but gone in hockey nowadays but Goon shines a light on the old forgotten role and sees Sean William Scott give a surprisingly nuanced performance, even when the script can be rather weak. It’s not a masterpiece by any stretch but it is definitely an entertaining watch that is fun and sometimes touching. Hockey fans will have a great time with this piece of Canadiana.


Shoplifters

Winner of the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival (the Palme d’Or), Shoplifters is the story of a ragtag family living on the fringes of Japanese society. It is a beautifully told story that is somehow depressing and hopeful at the same time. From the performances to the script, the story strips away barriers to reveal a deep understanding of human nature that is vividly felt and unforgettable. Having a box of tissues ready might be a good idea.


The Invitation

I have to be very careful with this recommendation. The Invitation is not only a fantastic thriller but it is also one of those rare movies that will benefit from a viewer going in blind. Logan Marshall-Green is fantastic in the lead role, the script is sharp and intelligent, and that’s all you need to know. Don’t read a synopsis. Don’t watch a trailer. Just jump right in.


Maniac

This Netflix original mini-series stars Jonah Hill and Emma Stone as two strangers who are drawn into a mysterious pharmaceutical trial for a product that is promised to “solve all their problems”. Taking place partially in reality and partially in the minds of the characters allows the series to change the setting and atmosphere every episode while giving the two leads an opportunity to portray a number of different characters within the same series. Maniac is quirky, weird, and a definite must-see.


Featured image courtesy of Freestocks.org via pexels.com