The 10 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now
With most of their advertising and press coverage focused on their growing library of original films and series, it’s easy to forget that Netflix is still in the business of acquiring current and classic movies from distributors. If you feel a little overwhelmed by their menu options on that front, take a look at our picks for the 10 best movies on Netflix right now.
1. Wind River (2017)
The howling, inhospitable Wyoming territories in winter are the site of this capable thriller about a U.S. Wildlife tracker (Jeremy Renner) who teams with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to solve the mystery of a dead body left to freeze in the middle of nowhere.
2. Hell or High Water (2016)
If Wind River hit the right notes, writer Taylor Sheridan's Hell or High Water should be next up in your queue. The film follows two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) who take to bank robberies in an effort to save their family ranch from foreclosure; Jeff Bridges is the drawling, laconic lawman on their tail.
3. The Founder (2016)
Michael Keaton helps make this biopic about fast food giant Ray Kroc about something bigger than burgers: It's a look at an obsessive business mind. In the 1950s, milkshake machine hustler Kroc stumbled across the McDonald brothers and their novel idea of fast-service fries. Before they knew what was happening, Kroc was turning their modest ambitions into a national franchise.
4. Don't Think Twice (2016)
A Los Angeles improv troupe (Keegan Michael-Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia) is forced to confront their own insecurities when one is called up to a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch show. Alternately funny and heartbreaking, this independent film largely flew under the radar when it received a brief theatrical release in 2016. It's deserving of more attention.
5. The Wave (2016)
“Norwegian disaster movie” might not be a genre you’ve considered, but this well-made thriller might change your opinion. A geologist (Kristoffer Joner) has only 10 minutes to try and evacuate a coastal town—and his own family—after he discovers a tsunami is due to hit with no warning.
6. The Lobster (2015)
Colin Farrell stars in a black comedy that feels reminiscent of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's work: A slump-shouldered loner (Farrell) has just 45 days to find a life partner before he's turned into an animal. Can he make it work with Rachel Weisz, or is he doomed to a life on all fours? By turns absurd and provocative, The Lobster isn't a conventional date movie, but it might have more to say about relationships than a pile of Nicholas Sparks paperbacks.
7. Boyhood (2014)
Boyhood works as a kind of time travel movie, as director Richard Linklater spent 12 years filming the adolescence of a Texan (Ellar Coltrane) from age six to 18. This lengthy production process made it possible for Coltrane to portray the character at various stages, from coming to grips with his parents' divorce as a young child to his high school graduation. In lesser hands, it would be a gimmick. For Linklater, it's a chance to mediate on encroaching independence.
8. Locke (2013)
The camera rarely wavers from Tom Hardy in this existential thriller, which takes place entirely in Hardy's vehicle. A construction foreman trying to make sure an important job is executed well, Hardy's Ivan Locke grapples with some surprising news from a mistress and the demands of his family. It's a one-act, one-man play, with Hardy making the repeated act of conversing on his cell phone as tense and compelling as if he were driving with a bomb in the trunk.
9. The Departed (2006)
Director Martin Scorsese's The Irishman is due to arrive on Netflix later this year, but an Oscar-winning sample of his signature style is available right now. Based on the 2004 Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, The Departed stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a cop trying to infiltrate Boston mobster Jack Nicholson's inner circle; Matt Damon is a criminal trying to go undercover on the police force; Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin are the honest cops trying to make sense of it all.
10. Quiz Show (1994)
Director Robert Redford takes a look back at the first reality TV craze: the 1950s quiz show phenomenon. Based on a true story, the brilliant-but-not-very-photogenic Herbert Stempel (John Turturro) is pushed out of the way for the slick Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), a contestant on the trivia show Twenty One, who kept advancing thanks to his wits ... and some help from the show's producers.