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Top 3 best Netflix shows you should not miss in 2020

Mritunjoy has brought to you, a list of three film and webseries that are exclusively streaming on different video platforms. So why wait? Lets get jump in.

14,May
2020

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Mritunjoy has brought to you, a list of three film and webseries that are exclusively streaming on different video platforms. So why wait? Lets get jump in.

1. Marriage Story

Among the successful film directors most influenced by Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach's name would come somewhere near the top. While he ticks off some of the obvious common boxes - New York, Jewish, intellectual elite there are differences as well, in Baumbach's greater accent on emotional states, best exemplified by this film itself. 

With "Marriage Story", Baumbach comes up with perhaps with his best film till date, certainly his best received. Led by outstanding performances from a great cast, especially the leads - Scarlet Johansson (who also memorably starred in arguably Woody Allen's best film this century - "Match Point") and Adam Driver, the story of a crumbling marriage being allowed to be mercilessly encroached upon by the greasy American marital legal system, and the attendant fallouts, despite being quite predictable is still very compelling, thanks primarily to the smart writing. 

While the film does not charter new territory in its essence, it does have the power of honesty and real emotions (Baumbach apparently drew on his own divorce story with actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, thus allowing some fresh details to provide individuality) much the way the best break-up songs have. This particular feeling of loss is so universal, so omnipresent, that as the biggest giant hook of all when done honestly, it can gravitationally pull in pretty much anyone who still has the ability to look up from a mobile phone. 

It is a sign of the times that a theme like this stands out so comprehensively now given how few "real" and "everyday" films we're actually making these days (especially in the context of the gloom and gore in Netflix, the film's producers). Not to speak of being hailed as a "great film", as attention spans also seem to be affecting memory as well (films like "Parasite" and "Joker" have benefited from the same kind of hype this year). 

It's as if the timelessly great films of the past belong to another planet and therefore don't qualify for assessment anymore. Actually, maybe this is a different planet now. Younger viewers who enjoyed this film (with good reason) may want to check out "Kramer vs Kramer", "Shoot the Moon", "The War of the Roses", "Husbands and Wives" (one of Woody Allen's more underrated films) and Baumbach's own "The Squid and the Whale", among others. And particularly "Scenes From a Marriage" from Sweden, "5x2" from France and "A Separation" from Iran. 

There's a reason why cinema as an art form and storytelling vehicle touched the heights it did in the last four decades - Scorsese bemoaned that loss of memory as well recently but it was seen in a rather diminished context. In many ways, therefore, "Marriage Story" is an old-fashioned film, as anything where the director makes himself invisible, where every element single-mindedly and unselfconsciously serves the story, is. It could have done a lot worse. 

2. The Bonfire of Destiny

"The Bonfire of Destiny" (original name "Le Bazar de la Charité") is an 8-part French miniseries on Netflix, one of the most expensive French shows ever made, with stunning production values and a vast cast of extras. The story is based around the aftermath of a tragic fire at a prestigious charity event in Paris in 1897, in which 126 people died, mostly women. 

The first episode recreates the tragedy memorably, chillingly but very interestingly, in considerable detail. And the rest of the series tells the story through the eyes of three women with their own intriguing plots, who survived the fire. The women-centric plot ensures a no guns, no violence show, but the high budget necessitates high octane hooks, almost on the scale of "Game of Thrones" but with very little violence (or fantasy), some melodrama but thankfully within limits. It's actually quite instructive how they pull this off, given its obvious burden of constantly being absorbing. Binge-worthy and compelling, this is rather a good alternative to the crime-based majority fare on Netflix. 

3. Messiah


"Messiah ", a ten-episode series streaming on Netflix, is one of the more interesting shows on any OTT platform. It deals with idea of "faith" and what it would entail if a messiah were to actually appear in this modern age, miracles and followers in tow. In this case, he rises in Syria and travels to the US, which is where most of the action eventually takes place. 

While the thought experiment of sorts is based on the second coming of Christ perhaps, the probably inadvertent resemblance in name to Al-Masih ad-Dajjal, an evil figure in Islam for being "the false messiah", queers the pitch quite a bit. But then again, perhaps that was intended after all, to create an ambiguity about his credibility among viewers. It has led to the show being deemed very controversial in some quarters (bizarrely, there were demands to ban it in Jordan, where a part of the show was shot, and where they ound support funding as well). 

So, don't be influenced by the viewer ratings on this on various platforms, as a lot of them seem to have been cast on faith rather than the creative merit of the show. The reviews seem to be rather misleading too; many of the reviewers, too inundated perhaps by their heavy workload, could not transcend their own expectations. The spectacular first episode does suggest a "Homeland " kind of show, or even a "Fauda". 

Instead, it changes pace and gradually reveals a slow-burn narrative, with multiple characters, interested more in a certain kind of examination than in thrilling or giving visceral payoffs. It doesn't work right through though, but still "Messiah" is worth seeing for its interesting premise and for its departure from the usual nicely-rounded fare OTT platforms tend to favour; this seems to have got away from that kind of scrutiny. The space is better for it. 

 


Dibyadarshan Das

Author of the Content

Dibyadarshan Das has been a veteran cricket and esports feature writer for some of India's top web portals. You can follow his daily articles on Sportskeeda. He reports, does analysis and a bit of storytelling through his posts.



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