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5 Netflix Hidden Gems


The simple joy of Netflix when you work on the road is finding entertainment at the touch of a few buttons. I do watch my fair share of rubbish but I also uncover some hidden gems now and again. Here’s five great watches that I’ve seen recently:

Safety Not Guaranteed

A real little gem this one. I do like quirky films now and again and this one hits the spot. An ad in a local newspaper seeks a companion for time travel and so our intrepid reporters try to get involved to uncover the story. The lead role in the investigation is undertaken by Darius, a new intern at a swish mag. The would-be time traveler is played by the writer-director and is brilliantly observed. There’s a simplicity to the story that you just go along with. It’s not complicated, never taxing, a lovely journey. Go watch it.

Mortified Nation

This was one of those random picks that you just happen to find now and again. I am not even sure why I clicked on it given the odd cover shot. Essentially it plays like a stand-up show but the stars are every day folks who decided they wanted to read their teenage diaries out on stage to a packed audience. It might sound a little odd, but the simple joy of knowing you wouldn’t do this yourself but really want other people to is fantastic. To get a view into a past-you that is no longer the today-you but actually shaped you to be the person you are today is a brilliantly insightful perspective. Driven from the producer’s finding of a teenage love-letter to his crush, this phenomenon took off and spanned the US and spread out internationally. Warming, funny, honest, innocent (ish!) and compelling. I highly recommend this one.

Dirty Wars

To get a look at how the US conduct clandestine operations abroad is a rare treat. Everyone is aware of the Snowden story and the wholesale uncovering of the NSA’s operations but to get into the black ops world is equally terrifying and astounding. To see the sheer scale and scope of this shadowy underworld is eye-opening and sobering. JSoc is a clandestine organisation that remained in the shadows for a long time only coming to the fore when Osama Bin Laden was killed. The story here is all fact, little conjecture and absolutely brilliant to watch unfold. If you think you know the world, think again.

Melancholia

The world is about to end. It’s not just speculation, there’s a cataclysmic collision on the way and you can watch it develop outside your own window. Lars Von Trier has created what is surely his life’s most defining work. I am not a huge fan of “artistic” cinema but the cinematography, story and character insight in this film is just incredible. Kirsten Dunst plays this character supremely well. It is probably one of my favourite films of all time. The others are  Aliens, Gladiator, Top Gun and Lost Boys but don’t let that hold you back. The journey you go on with these characters as they count down their last days is just sublime. Watch this film and I dare you not to be amazed.

Zeitgeist

So this one is easy to describe. Take everything you ever knew, turn it on it’s head, and then reassess your life and the world you live in. Religion, politics and economics all examined with a critical eye. In fairness there are critics of this movie and it’s maker Peter Joseph Merola. However, to look at how Christianity is based in so many ancient religious figures and festivals is an eye-opener. You can do the research yourself to look at how Judaism, Islam and Christianity have a common source but to drive that source back to Horus for example is something that makes you stop and think. The fact I visited an Abbey in the southwest of England this weekend and discovered that the 8 daily prayers (known as “offices” or “hours”) has such an impact on our daily lives today gives reason to stop and think about how religion has shaped our world. I am of the mind that everyone is entitled to believe in what they choose to believe but equally I do take a simple view that you are allowed to be a Doubting Thomas now and again to challenge and reaffirm your views. If nothing else, watch it and think about it. Don’t say I didn’t offer you the red or blue pill 🙂

Add your views below, I’d be really keen to hear your reviews! 🙂