Netflix is quick to point you in the direction of its high-profile original shows and latest blockbuster movies.
But amid its extensive cinematic library, there are plenty of interesting modern flicks you may well have missed.
From arthouse thrillers to cult comedies and distinctive offbeat dramas, here are six terrific films to take you beyond the obvious.
Hired by a shady big-pharma company to track down, destroy and harvest the last of an endangered species in the wilderness of Tasmania, Willem Dafoe’s titular hunter finds far more than he bargains for in the process.
His task is complicated both by his outsider status in the run-down Australian town he arrives in, and by his increasing attachment to a troubled local woman and her children.
Part survival thriller, part emotional drama, the protagonist’s soul-searching arc is beautifully realised – as is the spectacular scenery he navigates in search of his quarry.
One of those unfortunate cases of a terrific film being overshadowed by a contemporary with similar themes, Super was annihilated by fellow superhero satire Kick-Ass at the box office – but is an altogether more fascinating proposition.
Writer/director James Gunn, who has since gone on to helm Guardians Of The Galaxy, manages to wring wit, angst and despair out of this tale of a depressed loner who feels compelled to fight crime when he experiences a vivid hallucination.
He consequently fashions himself a costume, picks up a wrench, and starts viciously beating low-lives, perverts and queue-jumpers alike.
Rainn Wilson is fantastic as the mentally disturbed lead; Ellen Page jaw-dropping as his even more unhinged and violent sidekick. It’s funny, sad and shocking in equal measure.
John Maclean’s directorial debut transports Scotland to the Wild West; as a naive young Laird (played superbly by Kodi Smit-McPhee) crosses to the harsh backwaters of 19th Century America in the vague hope of finding his lost ‘love’.
His relationship with Michael Fassbender’s cynical bounty hunter forms the film’s compelling backbone, as the pair content with assorted wilderness dangers and the odd desperate lawbreaker.
Even among the Western genre’s recent gritty resurgence, this stands as a particular triumph, merging tried and tested tropes with sobering, surprising ones.
There’s eye-popping action, poignant character moments and even dark, absurdist humour – particularly towards the unforgettable ending.
As spoof comedies go, this is up there with the very best.
Starring Michael Jai White as the eponymous hero, a martial arts expert and former CIA operative hellbent on cleaning up the streets, it’s a riotous ode to ‘blaxplolitation’ movies overflowing with inspired gags and farcical belly-laughs.
From sound booms sneaking into shot to some amusing use of stock footage, it sharply riffs on the conventions of the genre its lampooning, while the lunatic conspiracy plot just keeps getting more and more outrageous.
Crucially, Black Dynamite manages to make fun of those cheesy ’70s exploitation flicks while simultaneously showing a great fondness and appreciation for them. The result is supremely entertaining.
Robot and Frank
Both a moving rumination on the challenges of old age and an endearing, witty caper in its own right, this inspired splicing of light sci-fi and domestic comedy offers a tremendous lead role for the great Frank Langella, who gamely sinks his teeth in with relish.
He plays a former cat burglar experiencing the signs of early dementia. His concerned, somewhat exasperated son buys him a robot companion to help him around the house, But Frank sees his plucky, resourceful new comrade as a chance to get back to his master thief ways.
Somewhat overlooked since its release, it’s an absolute joy.
Tomas finds himself experiencing the holiday from hell after a certain fateful incident reflects poorly on his standing as a father, husband and man.
Such is the simple but effective premise of this tremendous Swedish comedy, which sees the embarrassed patriarch attempting to save face to his disapproving wife, largely indifferent children, and bemused friends and acquaintances.
The rich thread of cringe humour takes in hushed corridor arguments, awkward dinner dates and quite possibly the most painful chat-up scene in living cinematic memory; its fly-on-the-wall quality giving it the sense of a Michael Haneke movie played for laughs.
You’ll be able to relate strongly to at least one person in the scenario as it plays out. Just wait for the hilarious visual gag with a drone…
Originally published on iNews