We are still in the middle of the pandemic and are told to remain at home. For your entertainment, here is my review and ranking of three Netflix movies.
At the very top, I would place the British drama, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” It starred Solomon Northup, winner of a 2013 Oscar for his performance in “Twelve Years a Slave.” This original Netflix movie was filmed entirely in Africa and marked the directorial debut of Chitwetel Ejiofor, who also starred in the film. The movie is based on the memoir of the same name, written by William Kamkwamba and tells the story of a 13 year old boy from a family of farmers in Malawi, Africa. Drought and failing crops result in famine and riots in his village. The boy finds a way to save his village by building a windmill to pump water for the crops. It’s an inspiring story that shows how a crisis can be overcome with intelligence and imagination.
In second place, I have “Gravity,” a 2013 science fiction thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. It was directed and produced by Alfonso Cuaron who went on to film the acclaimed “Roma” in 2018. In “Gravity,” two astronauts are completely dependent upon each other for survival in outer space when their ship is knocked off course because of a major fallout of space debris. The film has good dialogue and great special effects—some of which are the high points of the film. Add to the list the excellent acting by both the charismatic George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and you have an on-the-edge-of-your seat movie. It is no wonder that the film won seven Oscars.
My last recommendation is “The Irishman,” directed by the great Martin Scorsese in his Netflix debut. It’s a long film, lasting almost three and a half hours. It helps that one can watch it at home and if need be, break it up into two nightly viewings. The story line is a series of recollections by hit man Frank Sheeran (played by Robert de Niro). The story goes back to his youth and his introduction into the world of the mafia for which he eventually works. His later involvement with the notorious union boss Jimmy Hoffa takes us all the way to the death of John F. Kennedy and its aftermath. In addition to the masterful direction by Scorsese and the leading actor, Robert de Niro, the movie includes some other big screen names: Joe Pesci and Al Pacino—all veterans of the genre. It’s a great choice for cinephiles.