Every week at Movie Mezzanine, we pick some of the best films currently on Netflix Instant. Whether they are big releases or hidden gems, these movies make your subscription worth the price. Read on for this week’s picks.
Back after a brief take-down, Francis Ford Coppola’s magnum opus is back on Instant. “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam,” the director so famously crowed, a misleading statement that nevertheless provides a vantage point from which to view the film. To call his hallucinatory Conrad retelling, with its reduction of anti-American forces to voices in the jungle and faceless civilians to be mowed down with glee, a true summary of the war is a decidedly Amerocentric view, yet the intimate power of this undulating epic creates an atmosphere that speaks to a war within, if not the external war happening around the characters. Ignore the bloated, redundant Redux cut also on Instant and stick with the theatrical version for the full effect of the nightmare — Jake Cole
The last of Raul Ruiz’s features to be released before his death (though a completed picture and a half-begun projected finished by his widow have since been released), Mysteries of Lisbon is a fitting send-off for the Wellesian filmmaker, an epic of memory, art and history that routinely folds upon itself with the puckish glint of a young, hale director. As with Michael Mann’s Public Enemies, the director’s use of digital cameras clashes with the historical recreations before giving them new life, a fitting aesthetic revisionism to go along with the constantly redefined parameters of the stories Ruiz conjures from the ether. Simply put, one of the finest works of the young decade. — Jake Cole
She made better movies before (and since), but Jane Campion made unmistakable her status as a world-class filmmaker with The Piano. Holly Hunter sidesteps every pitfall of an actor feigning a disability, her deaf-mute pianist quick but withdrawn and never dependent upon garish, sympathy-currying displays. Campion’s direction brings out the electricity of the performance, the way Hunter’s whole body twitches, freezes and relents to the men in her life and moves to protect her daughter. Great supporting performances all around from Sam Neill, Harvey Keitel and a young Anna Paquin are but icing on the cake for this intense, poetic feature. — Jake Cole