There’s no need to pack up and hit the cinema to enjoy a good movie. Indie movies rarely get the marketing or distribution of major studio productions but like Indie books, they’re hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Indie filmmakers put all they’ve got into their art, and Netflix loves to feature them. Put on the popcorn and take advantage of these great independent flicks on Netflix.
This neo-noir mystery is the creation of Rian Johnson(Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Filmed in 2005, it stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He’s a high schooler who gets a troubling phone call from an ex-girlfriend. She can only mutter a few words before the call cuts off. Levitt’s character must use her words as clues to find her. This well-crafted movie revolving around teenagers brings freshness to noir films.
Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, the director behind big hits Like Blade Runner 2049 began his career producing some outstanding indie films. Check out the psychological thriller Enemy featuring Jake Gyllenhal playing dual roles. It’s the story of a lonely college history professor who finds an actor that could be his twin. After becoming obsessed with his doppelganger’s life, he slips down the rabbit hole away from reality.
The Spectacular Now
Director James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now was considered to be the “breakout” indie movie of the year at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. Based on a novel by Tim Tharp, it’s a character-driven story about a high school boy who strikes up a relationship with a girl he meets. She’s smart and bookish, and he is popular, charming, and has a drinking problem. The result is a dramatic and emotional story.
Director/writer Alex Garland hit it big with screenplays for films like Dredd and 28 Days Later. Even more brilliant is his sci-fi film Ex Machina. Caleb, played by Domhnall Gleeson, is a computer programmer. The CEO of the search engine company he works for, an eccentric Steve Jobs-type, takes Caleb to his remote compound to befriend a humanoid robot he has built. Caleb’s there basically to perform a Turing test on the humanoid, Ava. Secrets lurking in the compound lead to a tale of toxic masculinity and gender dynamics.
This Netflix original film and major Oscar contender by writer/director Alfonso Cuarón was first released as an independent movie. After the filming, Netflix offered to distribute the movie in theaters and on their streaming service. Roma is the story of Cuaron’s childhood as told by Cleo, a live-in domestic worker. It’s a powerfully emotional story revolving around a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico that falls apart when the parents decide to divorce.