Netflix, Netflix, Netflix, what would be of us without Netflix. Our amount of free time is measured by the accumulation on our Watch List or by what we contribute to that Top 10 trends. Netflix has become synonymous, whether some like it or not, of home cinema, whether we watch a movie on a professional projector, on a plasma television, on a laptop, a tower pc, a tablet or even, forgive me Nolan , on a mobile. But going to Netflix is like going to a shopping center to buy something very specific, you go with a very clear idea but, just in case, first you go through all the stores one by one in case there is something better or that you like plus. In the end you end up not buying what you were looking for and with something you didn’t want to see buy (sorry, we have to continue with the comparison).
It has happened to all of us that we let ourselves be guided by the power of the remote control and, before going to the search engine and finding the movie we had gone to see, scroll infinitely, for hours, in case there is another movie or series that we fancy more. The problem is that we find something that seems curious, we put it, we don’t like it and it’s too late to see that or anything else. It is the evil of Netflix and it affects almost all of us, at least those of us who do not have much willpower. That is why you have to enter the platform with very clear ideas, even more so if what you want to see is not a novelty and you have to explore the catacombs of the platform’s catalogue.
With that objective we have prepared this list, one that brings together 50 good Netflix movies, the creme de la creme of the platform’s film catalogue, at least as far as criticism is concerned. And let’s not forget, Netflix is not the Locarno Festival, here the films “of the critics’ taste” are usually quite commercial. They are, at least, a quality bet beyond the virality of that infernal weekly top 10 capable of making us see the worst unimaginable mess one night after another for being in trend. These are 50 Netflix movies that have earned critical acclaim and the objectively subjective appellation of being called “good.”
The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles, 2018)
Netflix decided to finish one of the most mythical unfinished projects of the legendary Orson Welles and, without any remorse, put his name on the address without further ado. This Orson Welles film that is not entirely by Orson Welles is one of the most special contents of Netflix for all the reading layers it has, from the fictional drama of pure cinema within the cinema to all the meta readings of the proposal of Welles, augmented by rereading decades after the Netflix montage. It is a film history event pure and simple.
Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018)
Between his acclaimed debut feature ‘Ex-Machina’ and the hypnotic series ‘Devs’, the most personal sci-fi creator to break onto the world scene in recent years, Alex Garland, created his most ambitious project yet on Netflix. If most science fiction movies are based on the originality of their proposal to then develop generically like an action movie, Garland plays something else, her proposal is her mystery and here, together with Natalie Portman, we It’s time to delve into the unknown.
Atlantic (Mati Diop, 2019)
Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, in Spain the latest work by Mati Diop came to us through Netflix. The African film mixes social criticism, a tragic love story and ghostly revenge, creating one of the most unique and essential auteur proposals on the platform.
Bajocero (Lluis Quilez, 2021)
Javier Gutierrez, Karra Elejalde, Luis Callejo and Patrick Criado star in this energetic national police thriller in which a driver is forced to barricade himself with the prisoners in the van in which he was transporting them, avoiding an escape attempt. Something like ‘Cell 211’, but with everything reduced to a van on a winter night. One of the best Spanish movies on Netflix.
Beasts of No Nation (Cary Joji Fukunaga, 2015)
Back at the dawn of Netflix in Spain, this was one of the first big movies on the platform that began to shout at the theaters that they should take it seriously. Starring Idris Elba and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (who had just signed the first season of ‘True Detective’), the film tells the drama and human destruction of child soldiers in Africa in a dramatic action key.
Calibre (Matt Palmer, 2018)
Sold as a Scottish version of ‘Deliverance’ (‘Defense’), this acclaimed film takes us to accompany two friends through the highlands on a day of hunting, until everything goes wrong in ways we will not reveal. But, as you can imagine, with tragic and interesting consequences.
Medium Conquest (Alice Wu, 2020)
In addition to Domee Shi (‘Red’) or Chloe Zhao (‘Nomadland’), Alice Wu is another of those young directors of Asian origin who are making a name for themselves in Hollywood with personal stories. She Here She Directed and Wrote She is an original romantic comedy inspired by Cyrano de Bergerac in which a young woman helps a boy win over the girl they are both in love with.
Culpable (Antoine Fuqua, 2021)
Remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name, we cannot say that it surpasses the original. However, when your proposal is so tied to keeping the same actor on screen throughout the film, having a star like Jake Gyllenhaal helps a lot. The film takes place through the protagonist, after receiving a call from a woman from the emergency center where he works.
Da 5 Blood, blood brothers (Spike Lee, 2020)
Irregular and angry like its director, Spike Lee, the film is an interesting approach to the African-American role in the Vietnam War, navigating between the past and a present full of lies, nostalgia, and false memories. More than in any other film about the war adventure of the United States in tropical Asia, it is very clear to us that the enemy has always been the white man.
Diamonds in the Rough (Safdie Brothers, 2019)
Few movies, perhaps none, we can find on Netflix better than the frenetic, exhausting, exhausting and hallucinogenic adventure of the Safdie. With a huge and starlike Adam Sandler in the lead and the sensual and ambivalent presence of Julia Fox at his side, ‘Diamonds in the rough’ is a thriller that squeezes and suffocates through the deceptions and goings-on of a protagonist who is always on the brink of the abyss.
Seventeen (Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, 2019)
Daniel Sanchez Arevalo went from the enormous family union of ‘The great Spanish family’ to moving us with the subtle relationship between an adolescent intern and a dog that he cares for as an activity. When he only has two months left on his sentence, the young man escapes to find the dog he was taking care of, risking everything to see him again. And he seems to us the most understandable in the world. What follows is a personal journey of those that places you in the world.
Where is my body? (Jeremy Clapin, 2019)
Jeremy Clapin gave us through Netflix one of the most essential and unique animation films of recent years. Through an amputated but alive hand, ‘Adams Family’ style, the member remembers a first love while traveling through the corners of Paris. Social, fantastic, romantic cinema… But no, let’s not confuse ourselves with animation, it is not designed for children.
The Apostle (Gareth Evans, 2018)
The creator of the two installments of ‘Murder Raid’ gave us this rural thriller about a tough guy in the form of a missionary who goes to a mysterious island to rescue a nun from the clutches of a dangerous cult. Of course, when he arrives in the community, he discovers many dangerous secrets.
The Road: A ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie (Vince Gillian, 2019)
Directed and written by Vince Gilligan, the creator of ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Better Call Saul’, ‘El camino’ was perhaps the best option that could be given to those of us who asked for a little more after the acclaimed finale of Walter’s series. White. Focusing on the character of Aaron Paul after the end of the series, the film closed several wounds for us, opened others and did nothing but improve our memory of the series,
The devil at all hours (Antonio Campos, 2020)
Antonio Campos’ adaptation of the novel by Donald Roy Pollock was one of the best on Netflix in 2020. With a cast led by names like Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgard, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Eliza Scanlen, Mia Wasikowska or Riley Keough, it was Robert Pattinson and his gloomy pastor, the one that warmed our hearts the most in this series of dramatic stories spanning several decades.
El hoyo (Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, 2019)
The Spanish film became an international phenomenon as soon as it was released on Netflix due to the impact and debate generated by its striking dystopian proposal. Those cells shared by floors whose banquet and abundance were determined by height wanted to tell us many things about the human being in crisis situations. Beyond social, sociological and political readings, it is a proposal to see at least once.
The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019)
What else can we say about Martin Scorsese’s latest masterpiece that we haven’t already said. Basically, forget about what is left over, the already aging facial rejuvenation because, although it was what most caught our attention in the film before its premiere, it ended up being the worst part of it. Beyond the effect, we are left with an immense, complex gangster story, frantic at times and excruciatingly slow at others. Al Pacino and Robert de Niro leave but it is the “retired” Joe Pesci who makes us scream legend every minute he spends on screen.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Aaron Sorkin, 2020)
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, we are talking about a great racial and social trial film based on real events. In addition to learning a bit of American history with a script as surgical as expected, the performances of its choral cast (Mark Rylance, Frank Langella, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton…) led by some great Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong is the real strong point.
The boy who harnessed the wind (Chiwetel Ejiofor, 2019)
Directed, starring and written by Chiwetel Ejiofor (based on the novel by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer), we are talking about one of those true stories to be inspired and regain some faith in the human being. In this case, it is the story of a young man from the Republic of Malawi who wanted to help his people by building a turbine with no more help than a book.
The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion, 2021)
After years of trying (with ‘Rome’ or ‘The Irishman’ as the main exponents), ‘The Power of the Dog’ has just conquered the Hollywood Film Academy in favor of Netflix. We do not blame them and it is that Jane Campion made one of the best westerns of recent years, with a story full of layers and readings about femininity, toxic masculinity, homosexuality or pure psychopathy. With Benedict Cumberbatch leading the way and Kodi Smit-McPhee impressing, the great cast is completed by Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst and Thomasin McKenzie.
13th Amendment (Ava DuVernay, 2016)
Those of us who were disappointed in ‘Selma’ and survived ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ almost forgot how good the Netflix miniseries ‘As They See Us’ was. As a double session and to finish restoring our faith in Ava DuVernay, nothing better than this documentary that dissects, through the amendment that gives it its title, the racial and criminal evils in the United States.
In my own skin (Alessio Cremonini, 2018)
Written and directed by Alessio Cremonini and starring Alesandro Borghi, we are possibly facing the most acclaimed Italian work on Netflix. It is a prison drama based on the dark true events of the incarceration of a young man for a minor drug offense.
I’m thinking about quitting (Charlie Kaufman, 2020)
You never know what will happen when you decide to dare to take a journey through the mind and work of Charlie Kaufman. After ‘Anomalisa’, the writer-director decided to take us back to the maximum nihilistic strangeness to show us the seams of human relationships, creating a dissection of memories, fantasies and fears in which to get lost.
Fragments of a woman (Kornel Mundruczo, 2020)
Kornel Mundruczo brought Vanessa Kirby closer to the Oscar in this tape shared with the controversial Shia LaBeouf. Both play a couple who, after losing her daughter in a home birth due to the negligence of the midwife, fall apart between grudges, complaints and family problems in the form of a mother.
It was the hand of God (Paolo Sorrentino, 2021)
The director of ‘La gran belleza’ or ‘La juventud’ distanced himself somewhat from the artifice of his latest proposals to give us his most personal and, apparently, most sincere film. A look at the Naples of the eighties through the eyes and memories of Sorrentino, always fascinating.
Guapis (Maimouna Doucoure, 2020)
This very interesting French film was showered with criticism for “sensualizing” its leading girls with its poster. This event only made him agree with the reflection in his story, where a young woman of African heritage is torn between the repressive and macho society of her family and the sexualized, and equally macho, western brilliance, between the burqa and twerking.
Hater (Jan Komasa, 2020)
Jan Komasa gave us, through the actors Maciej Musialowski and Vanessa Aleksander, one of those stories that Netflix likes so much. It’s not ‘You’, but this Polish film about psychopathic seducers and manipulators, pure red flags of toxic love, also has very interesting political and social readings.
Klaus (Sergio Pablos, 2019)
The Spanish film is one of Netflix’s most successful animation products, a streaming service that shows it off every Christmas as, by far, its best original Christmas content. Nothing more and nothing less than the origins of Santa Claus serve as the basis for this film about brotherhood, love and helping others.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Coen Brothers, 2018)
The Coen Brothers gave us a delicious combination of short stories in the western to which the chapter of the image gave its name. However, there is everything in these little cowboy windows, from black humor to a beautiful romantic tragedy.
La vieja guardia (Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2020)
Charlize Theron once again demonstrated that she has managed to break down the barrier that existed for female stars as a pure and simple action figure with this tale about a group of immortal warriors who are starting to run out of money. We await the second part.
Los dos papas (Fernando Meirelles, 2019)
Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce have always suffered from an obvious and undeniable resemblance to the last two popes, Francis and Benedict XVI. The two accepted the inevitable and came together to play them in that strange transition that left us with two potatoes.
Lack (David Fincher, 2020)
David Fincher became more of a movie fan than ever, vindicating the figure of Herman Mankiewicz, screenwriter of ‘Citizen Kane’, and incidentally, that of his father, Jack Fincher, author of the film’s script. This father and son dream gave rise to a story without glamor or nostalgia for the golden age of Hollywood cinema, full of bitterness and acidity.
Mudbound (Dee Rees, 2017)
Unfairly forgotten among Netflix’s catalog of original films, Dee Rees’ film is one of the best films about racism in the United States in recent years. Two young African-Americans return from World War II to their town in Mississippi, where they will come face to face with the racism of their town after returning from France.
Don’t Look It’s Coming (Adam McKay, 2021)
‘Don’t look up’ won us over with a stellar cast that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Timothee Chalamet and Ariana Grande. However, he won over viewers and social networks for his brilliant critique of contemporary society, putting us all in the mirror by showing us how our society would face a real crisis. Perhaps the only bad thing about the film is that what should have been a parody seemed almost like a documentary to us.
News from the Big World (Paul Greengrass, 2020)
The nobility and humanism emanating from Tom Hanks was the main weapon in this surprisingly relaxed western by Paul Greengrass. Everything centers on the inevitable union of a lonely traveler and a girl in search of a true family.
Oxygen (Alexandre Aja, 2021)
The prolific and effective, at least for popcorn consumption, Alexandre Aja delivered this French thriller starring Melanie Laurent (an actress we vindicate far too often). The proposal is similar to ‘Buried (Buried)’, only here instead of waking up in a coffin, the protagonist does so in a cryogenic chamber without remembering how she got there or who she is.
Rome (Alfonso Cuaron, 2018)
We are going to say little more about Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Roma’, the film that broke barriers of prestige in terms of Netflix cinema, although it also forced the good habit of releasing its best films, even if limited, in movie theaters. The Mexican director looked back, towards his childhood, to focus on the figure of his caretaker. A social, humanist story full of impressive images.
Tick, Tick… Boom! (Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2021)
Andrew Garfield did more than learn to sing and play the piano to play Jonathan Larson, he simply gave us the best performance of his career. With Lin-Manuel Miranda as director, this musical is a tragic tribute to one of the most important figures of recent Broadway.
Triple frontera (J. C. Chandor, 2019)
JC Chandor (‘Margin Call’, ‘The Most Violent Year’) brought together an all-star cast (Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Pedro Pascal…) to create this particular heist film. This time it’s a group of ex-military veterans who come together to rob none other than a powerful South American drug lord.
Velvet Buzzsaw (Dan Gilroy, 2019)
After shocking everyone with their criticism of the world of media that is ‘Nightcrawler’, the duo Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal took it against the art trade, portrayed here as something ruthless and toxic. If we add to that a mysterious personal revenge, things could not end well.
Private Life (Tamara Jenkins, 2018)
Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn, two eternal secondaries whose talent we will never applaud too much, starred in this great film by Tamara Jenkins that we could define as a romantic drama about an older couple desperate to have children. Their marriage is put to the test when the solution is for Richard (Giamatti) to impregnate another woman.
Violet y Finch (Brett Haley, 2020)
Few times have critics treated a teenage love story so well as this time with the film starring Justice Smith and the always great Elle Fanning. Based on Jennifer Niven’s novel ‘All the Bright Places’, the story revolves around two young people with lives as different as they are complicated but whose union is maintained thanks to the chemistry of the two protagonists and the good string of mysteries of the history.
Vivo (Kirk DeMicco, Brandon Jeffords, 2021)
Perhaps it was its impersonal title or the fame of ‘Encanto’ and ‘Coco’ that has meant that we have spoken little about this animated Latin musical film that Netflix released in August 2021. The protagonist is a golden monkey voiced by Lin -Manuel Miranda who decides to travel to Miami from Havana to fulfill his musical dream and that of his former owner.
Yo soy Dolemite (Craig Brewer, 2019)
Eddie Murphy rose from the forgotten Hollywood to pay homage to one of his precedents and bases of African-American popular culture with his incarnation of the incomparable and unique Rudy Ray Moore and his Dolemite. Comedian and father of hip hop who starred in several comedic albums and movies that connected with the African-American population like never before.