Thursday, September 22, 2016

The 20 Best Documentaries currently streaming on Netflix

The Act of Killing movie poster
By Kenny Howell

If there is one thing that Netflix has no shortness of, it is documentaries. That is probably the biggest category they have because there is an endless supply of documentaries these days, many which Netflix makes themselves. Below, I will give you more than enough to watch.

The Act of Killing (2012) - Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer - Oppenheimer's horrifying look into Indonesian death squad leaders who are still free after all these years. He has them reenact their crimes, sometimes with the people on the other side sitting right there.

The Look of Silence (2015) - Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer - The sequel to The Act of Killing, this time Oppenheimer has a brother of man who was killed during the genocide confront some of those death squad members.

Ballet 422 (2014) - Directed by Jody Lee Lipes - Interesting look at the artistic process, as director Lipes follows the 422nd ballet by the New York City Ballet from first rehearsal to world premiere.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) - Bansky - Banksy's terrific documentary about a French shopkeeper who originally set out to make a film about him and other street artists, but Banksy turned the cameras onto him when he realized his film would never make the light of day. Is it for real, or another one of Banksy's tricks?



Life Itself (2014) - Directed by Steve James - The perfect documentary about the life and death of film critic Roger Ebert. Not just for film lovers, as this film is as much about life as it is about Ebert's film career.

The Thin Blue Line (1988) - Directed by Errol Morris - Groundbreaking documentary from Morris about a man that was wrongly convicted of a crime in Texas.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012) - Directed by Alison Klayman - An interesting look inside present day China, as artist Ai Weiwei fights the oppressive regime through his artwork, and pays the price for it.

Touching the Void (2003) - Directed by Kevin Macdonald - Adaptation of the great novel about two men who have a perilous journey climbing the Andes Mountains.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) - Directed by David Gelb - Another look inside the artistic process, this time in the world of sushi. Jiro Ono may be the most famous sushi chef in the world, and this documentary takes you into his modest restaurant in Tokyo, which includes his son right along beside him.

Tabloid (2010) - Directed by Errol Morris - Wacky story of Joyce McKinney, the former Miss Wyoming who kidnapped a former Mormon boyfriend who she thought was being brainwashed by the church.

Into the Abyss (2011) - Directed by Werner Herzog - Herzog examines the death penalty by interviewing a death role inmate, and the people affected by his crime.

Muscle Shoals (2013) - Directed by Greg Camalier - Great look inside the famous music studio in northern Alabama that produced hits from The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, and Percy Sledge.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) - Directed by Alex Gibney - Thorough, frustrating examination of the collapse of Enron.

Finding Vivian Maier (2013) - Directed by John Maloof, Charlie Siskel - Documentary about a former nanny that got recognized after her death because of her excellent street photography. The story is told through the former families she cared for, and turns out she was quite eccentric.

Undefeated (2011) - Directed by Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin - Wonderful, Oscar-winning documentary about a group of high school football players in inner city Memphis, and the coach that leads them to glory.

The Queen of Versailles (2012) - Directed by Lauren Greenfield - One of the best documentaries about the economic crisis, this follows a billionaire family that is about to build the world's biggest home when the crisis hits and devastates their financial situation.

The Overnighters (2014) - Directed by Jesse Moss - Heart-breaking documentary about a pastor that just wanted to help some homeless men have somewhere to stay, so he lets them stay in the church or in the parking lot. His good deed goes punished as his life spins out of control.

Rich Hill (2014) - Directed by Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos - Important look at poverty in middle America, as the filmmakers follow several kids in the town of Rich Hill, Missouri as they try to overcome their situation.

Particle Fever (2013) - Directed by Mark Levinson - Cool look behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider as scientists prepare it for its launch, and then interpret the astounding results once it starts firing.

Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003) - Directed by Nick Broomfield, Joan Churchill - Broomfield's second documentary about the female serial killer Aileen Wuornos.

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