Parasite (Korean), Prime Video
Winner of 4 Academy Awards in 2020, South Korean movie, Parasite, is a black comedy thriller by Director Bong Joon-Ho. Daringly exposing the dark reality of social class difference, Parasite is about a family living on the edge of poverty, stepping into the world of the rich as unrelated and highly qualified people. Starting off as a satire, the movie takes a hard turn and sends the audience hurling into bloodshed forcing us to think about what’s really happening. Along with a thrilling storyline, what really makes it a clever movie is the presence of subtle details that are visually stimulating and vital to subliminally setting up the narrative.
Bacurau (Mexican), Mubi
Bacurau directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles is a movie that will dazzle and disturb you at the same time. Set in the fictional town of Bacurau in Brazil, the story unveils the weirdness of its inhabitants in a bizarre set of events. If the first half is about introducing the town and its oddball residents, the second half is captivating and gruesome at the same time. From vanishing from Google Maps to water supplies and phone services being cut, Bacurau faces the worst when a group of wealthy Americans decide to hunt them for sport. If you would like to be entertained with a story that will probably give you knots in the stomach, Bacurau should be on your watchlist.
Mystic River (English), Netflix
Winning the Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Supporting actor, Mystic River, a neo-noir drama mystery film by Clint Eastwood is the perfect recipe for a suspense thriller. The 2003 film revolves around the lives of three men in Boston, who were childhood friends, distanced over time due to a traumatic incident. Years later, a fateful crime in the family throws them back into a dark and brooding time which brings forth unspoken secrets and suspicions. From pain that might have spiraled down through the decades to the effect of the past on present relations, you travel through Eastwood’s tragic movie which puts the spotlight on guilt and vengeance in the human mind. A definite watch for its compelling storyline and Sean Penn’s Oscar-winning performance.
Virus (Malayalam), Prime
Released in 2019, Virus is a Malayalam thriller movie directed by critically acclaimed Aashiq Abu. At the core of the movie is a realistic look at the effect of the deadly NIPAH Virus that took over Kerala. An event that put the state in a complete period of frenzy with doctors running against time and patients fighting an unknown fatal illness. The commitment of the medical community, the fast-paced execution by the State Government in an emergency crisis and the chase to track down contacts of the victims put you on the edge of your seat. Every detail adds to the visual theme and makes you feel like you are part of the movie, experiencing the dread and fight for survival, each passing moment. The individual stories of characters further add layers to the story while the haunting visuals and eerie soundtrack grips you even when the movie is over.
Shoplifters (Japan), Netflix
With 2018 film Shoplifters, Filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda known for his richly humanistic filmography adds another feather to his cap. Delicately emotional and deeply affecting, the film puts together the story of a poverty-stricken family living off the shore in a gritty Tokyo set up. They survive on shoplifting from local stores, but when the father finds an abandoned child on the road in the middle of the night, his heart goes out to her and brings her home. What you experience next is a make-shift family coming together, not bound by blood but only love. As the narrative unravels, secrets from within this family starts surfacing, questioning societal hypocrisy and the concept of family, as accepted popularly. The performance is brilliant, making you want them to never stray away from each other.
Nightcrawler (English), Netflix
Set in contemporary Los Angeles, Nightcrawler is a pulse-pounding 2013 thriller directed by Dan Gilroy. Lead protagonist, Lou Bloom, is a desperate yet driven jobless man who is determined to live the big American dream. When he gets a break as a stringer at a local news network, he is determined to compromise everything, even morality. From there you see his character become a self-made monster, a nightcrawler whose sole purpose becomes capturing the gory night crime scenes for the channel’s morning breaking news. Highlighting the social problem of television channels and their war for higher ratings, the movie makes you feel uneasy and disturbed about the realities of crime journalism where every murder, accident or robbery is seen as a money-making opportunity.
Super Delux (Tamil), Netflix
Tamil thriller Super Deluxe, released in 2019, is everything you wouldn’t imagine reading the title. When a movie is directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja, your hopes naturally go high. He delivers through an assortment of quirky characters and 4 different stories running parallel to each other that meet in the most unexpected way. There is a newlywed couple’s dilemma, an estranged father’s return to his family, a god man's staggering faith over his god and a former porn star who is desperately trying to save her son from an accident. The protagonist in each of the stories is put to test when they are forced to face strange circumstances. Although black humour is the undercurrent of the movie, it’s the gush of emotions felt by a viewer that the movie whole-heartedly deserves.
Force Majeure (French), Hotstar
Wickedly funny and observant, Force Majeure is a 2014 psychodrama about a model Swedish family whose holiday in the Alps turns their lives upside down. ‘A disaster film without a disaster’, as critics say, Force Majeure turns chilling when the man of the family selfishly prioritizes his safety when the family faces an avalanche approaching. An action that not just shakes his wife and children to their core but also completely challenges his patriarchal position. As a viewer, you are forced to question him. Was it a reflex heat of the moment decision, a momentary lapse of judgement or a character flaw? The film, slow and steady, revolves around the aftermath and the psychological effect of the event and unfolds unexpected issues lying deep in their marriage and family.
Guilty (Hindi), Netflix
Ruchi Narain’s 2020 thriller Guilty, is centred around an alleged rape case in a prestigious Delhi university. Post the #MeToo movement in India, everyone pretends to be more ‘woke’. But would they step up to support when a girl in their college is raped? Will they stand up for her or will they pass crude remarks? When the victim is a small-town girl and the accused is a college heartthrob, opinions are skewed. The film puts the audience in a spot and makes us think of our conditioning as you go through twists and turns when the girlfriend of the accused is hell bent on finding what exactly happened on that fateful night.
Charade, (English), Prime Video
Stanley Donen’s 1963 movie, Charade, was the last sparkle of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In the film, when the leading lady’s husband is murdered, she finds herself being shadowed by three men. With nowhere to go, she turns to a person whom she met on a holiday some days ago only to realize that he too is a gang member. With heist money involved, things move faster as new secrets and true identities are revealed. With a taut story, witty dialogues and scenic beauties that represent Hollywood in its best element, Charade is a chase movie that is a delight to watch. A combination of romance, comedy, action and thrill all topped with Audrey Hepburn’s style and Cary Grant’s charm.