It’s officially the weekend! That means it’s time to curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and some new flicks — and this week, it’s all about broadening your horizons and enjoying the cinema of the world. Strap on your subtitles and get your teeth into these fascinating international movies.
Gizmodo’s weekly Netflix movie night is presented by the new HP Spectre x360. Any way you bend it, the Spectre x360 delivers. With four modes, lightning-fast performance, and impressive battery life, this convertible PC has the best of all worlds and the shortcomings of none.
Not what you’re after? Check out some other Netflix Movie Night suggestions:
Seven Samurai is an undisputed cinematic classic — a Japanese adventure film directed by silver screen legend Akira Kurosawa, and the basis for countless Westerns including The Magnificent Seven, which was specifically adapted from the original flick. Seven ronin, masterless samurai who roam the land, are hired to protect a village from the bandits that terrorize this. Bonus points — watch this, then take a bit of cinematic inspiration and go watch Ronin. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: After posing as a monk to save a kidnapped child, a master samurai is enlisted to protect a village from encroaching bandits.
IMDb: A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
La Haine is a scintillating French drama that follows the life and times of three disenfranchised youths in the slums of Paris following a city-wide riot. Over 24 hours, the multi-ethnic protagonists run afoul of the law and rival gangs while trying to entertain themselves without purpose or money. The film is notable for bringing French superstar Vincent Cassel to the masses and for an explosive ending that will remain with the viewer for years. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: In the hours after a riot that has left their friend comatose, three ethnic youths from a housing project in the Paris suburbs seethe with anger.
IMDb: After local youth Abdel is beaten unconscious by police, a riot ensues on his estate during which a policeman loses his gun. The gun is found by Vinz who threatens he will kill a cop if Abdel dies.
[REC] was actually re-made a few years later by Hollywood, and credit to its original storyline that it was recreated shot-for-shot. The Spanish version is the better of the two, though, and it’s a wild ride that’s almost cinema verite in its faux-documentary style. Take a dark, run-down apartment block, introduce a deadly and horrifying, horrifying virus, and you have this film. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Trapped in a quarantined building with a horde of ravenous zombies, a television reporter and her cameraman record the brutal events that transpire.
IMDb: A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.
Metropolis is a Fritz Lang classic — a German cinematic masterpiece that should be required viewing for any budding film student in university. As a piece of cinematic history it is nearly unparalleled, as a sci-fi story it’s extremely solid and enjoyable, and as a movie on its own it’s well worth a watch. When you consider the fact that it was made in 1927 in Germany, in the beginning of the Great Depression hitting the Weimar Republic, it’s even more amazing — and those events and that culture shaped what is a film that every movie-watcher should consume. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: In the year 2026, when the populace is divided between workers and the rich, a man abandons his privileged life to join oppressed workers in a revolt.
IMDb: In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Let The Right One In is beautiful, and is another film that well deserved — but also surpassed — its Hollywood remake. A soft-spoken Swedish romantic horror film that will really hold your attention, until it sinks its fangs into your neck. It’s beautiful, quiet, and almost relaxing if it weren’t so eerie and unsettling. It should also make you worry about all the vampires that could potentially be living next door to you right now. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A 12-year-old victim of bullies in a town plagued by murders spends his time plotting revenge — until he meets a misfit vampire who steals his heart.
IMDb: Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.
Troll Hunter follows a couple of film students as they put together a documentary, even after they realise the subject of their documentary actually hunts trolls for a living for the Norwegian government. There are some moments of sheer terror, but at the same time Troll Hunter actually humanises the giant creatures that it follows. Plus, you might even pick up a few words of Norwegian along the way. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Three students enter the Norwegian woods to film a documentary on a bear poacher who claims that he really tracks trolls for the Norwegian government.
IMDb: A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon entirely skipped under my radar when it was released in 2000. It won an Oscar, but Ang Lee’s epic flick wasn’t nearly as widely praised as its Western equivalents. That doesn’t mean it’s not amazing, though. Wo hu cang long, its Chinese name, is a cinematic masterpiece. Yuen Woo Ping’s flying, wire-fighting choreography is top notch — he’s the brains behind The Matrix and Kill Bill — and the scenery of ancient China is absolutely stunning. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A young woman in ancient China longs for an adventurous life rather than a dull arranged marriage in Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning martial arts epic.
IMDb: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.
The Devil’s Double is deeply unsettling and confronting. It’s a vision into the world of Saddam Hussein, one of history’s most unlikeable figures, and the completely fascinating world that he and his family built on the backs of the people of Iraq. Based on the events of real life in the mid-2000s Middle East, it shows the utter debauchery of Hussein and his sons and the effect that had on the world. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: In his fact-based drama, Iraqi lieutenant Yahia is forcibly drafted into being a body double for Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s depraved elder son.
IMDb: A chilling vision of the House of Saddam Hussein comes to life through the eyes of the man who was forced to become the double of Hussein’s sadistic son.
La Femme Nikita is one of French director Luc Besson’s best films, alongside The Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional. A girl kills a policeman, is sentenced to life in prison, but her captors fake her death and give her an ultimatum — become an assassin, or be killed. This is a rollercoaster ride that doesn’t let you off, and it’s all the better for it. It also inspired a legion of imitations — like Lucy — in the years to come. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: Recruited against her will into a secret government organization, a ruthless street junkie is transformed into a seductive lethal weapon.
IMDb: Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.
Ong Bak sees Ting (Tony Jaa) leave his village and travel to the big smoke after a sacred statue is stolen. Unfortunately, to get it back he has to fight through a veritable horde of underworld bad guys. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were in his shoes? The martial arts expertise in this film is amazing. The quality of the fight choreography is top notch, and it’s a proper spiritual successor to the last couple of decades of Jackie Chan and Jet Li and Bruce Lee’s amazing fighting ancestry. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: When a sacred statuette is stolen from a Thai village, a young kick-boxer follows the trail of clues to Bangkok to reclaim the pilfered treasure.
IMDb: When the head of a statue sacred to a village is stolen, a young martial artist goes to the big city and finds himself taking on the underworld to retrieve it.
Battle Royale. Oh boy. This is a tough watch. This is where The Hunger Games began. What happens when you force an entire class of 14-year olds onto an abandoned island, tell them they have to kill each other to survive, and give them a completely random and ridiculous bunch of weapons? Make no mistake, Battle Royale is a brutal and bloody movie. If you’re keen on a bit of gore, settle down with a beer and a bowl of chips and enjoy. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: The Japanese government introduces a system whereby randomly chosen schoolchildren are taken to an island and forced to fight each other to the death.
IMDb: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a dark, moody Swedish crime drama that follows a wealthy family’s long-running intrigue, and it’s absolutely gripping to watch. Noomi Rapace’s break-out role as Lisbeth Salander is chilling and fascinating, and it’s no surprise that the entire movie was re-made for an American audience by Hollywood director David Fincher. The scenery, too, is beautiful, as is the Swedish language itself. One to sit down and consider. Watch it now on Netflix.
Netflix: A journalist and a computer hacker team up to probe the unsolved disappearance of a wealthy man’s niece, only to uncover the family’s darkest secrets.
IMDb: A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing — or dead — for forty years by a young female hacker.
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