Your Netflix Instant Weekend: JAR CITY, THE HORSEMAN, and more
Hello again. Another slow week means more "classic" recommendations, films not newly added but perhaps lacking from your queue. Today is July 1st, and you know what the first of the month means - tons of new titles, which I'll begin sifting through and have ready for you next week. For now, let's take a look at an Icelandic police procedural and a violent revenge thriller from Australia.
When an elderly man is murdered in his home, a single clue is found - a hidden photograph of the headstone of a young girl's grave. This leads Erlendur, a tired and worn down detective, to a small village in rural Iceland where he encounters corruption and decades-old buried secrets. Making matters worse, his junkie daughter, with whom he still wishes to reconcile, is now pregnant and desperate for money.
JAR CITY is a police procedural bleak in its plotting, location, cinematography, and tone. However, it feels mostly authentic (a reveal or two may feel a bit "out there"), the genre stripped down to its bare basics and the sexiness and intrigue of movie detective work placed aside to focus on a character no longer excited and intrigued by his profession. The subtlety of performances and scripting allow for much to be said in the silent looks- this is a town, much like the one in WINTER'S BONE, corroded with deception so deeply ingrained few people understand the real truths anymore. However, spend some time with JAR CITY and you'll learn what the connection between the murdered man and the dead girl is. (Available in HD)
I've kept no secrets from you, so you already know (because you read this column on a weekly basis, right?) that I'm completely in love with revenge films. One of the best to come along in quite some time is this Australian entry, THE HORSEMAN, about a father, Christian, seeking out the men responsible for his daughter's abuse and, ultimately, death. Along the way he picks up a hitchhiking girl named Alice who temporarily fills an emotional void and satiates his need to act paternally. The film works so well due to the lead performance by Peter Marshall who effectively and believably transitions back and forth from "Holy fuck!" brutal to caring father through the course of the film. There are moments of extreme violence and other of great tenderness. It's a complete emotional and visceral package, a balance few other films of its ilk get right. (Available in HD)
If you're looking for more...
Kicking off the actual new additions this week is IP MAN 2 which, while nowhere near as good as the first film, is fairly entertaining. KNOCKAROUND GUYS is a fun crime comedy with a great cast (and Seth Green). TETSUO: THE BULLET MAN is the latest entry into the mind-bending series. NOBODY'S BUSINESS is an intensely personal and fascinating documentary about a man trying to better understand his roots by trying to get his father to discuss them on camera. Finally, two movies I didn't care for but many have enjoyed, IRON MAN 2 and BLACK HAWK DAWN, should fill your action needs if you don't feel like venturing out to the theaters this weekend.