Truth, they say, is stranger than fiction. And they — whether that be private investigators or documentary filmmakers — are right. The best, most gripping and jaw-dropping tales, are grown from at least a grain of truth. And this month’s new Netflix titles prove it.
There’s Donnie Brasco, the mob epic based on the autobiography of a real undercover FBI agent. There’s The Kill Team, a dark drama telling the tale of true war crimes. There’s even Inventing Anna, a new miniseries unraveling faux-socialite Anna Sorokin. Add to that a slew of new documentaries — on topics from Boeing airplanes to Bubba Wallace — and you’ve got a month of the most outlandish, off-beat true tales to ever grace your TV…
Donnie Brasco, February 1st
It may not enjoy the reverence and reputation of some of Pacino’s other mob-flavoured films, but Donnie Brasco is still a must-see movie. Co-starring Johnny Depp as the titular Brasco, the name is an alias used by a young FBI agent — tasked with befriending ageing Bonanno crime family hitman ‘Lefty’ Reuggiero (Pacino).
The Dark Knight, February 1st
With Robert Pattinson’s Batman gliding into cinemas soon, Netflix looks to be cashing in on the inevitable bat-craze this month. Alongside The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins also lands on February 1st. But the sequel, with its confident storytelling, blue-hued modern Gotham and blistering villainous turn by Heath Ledger, remains the bat-flick to beat.
The Foreigner, February 1st
Beginning in 2014, Pierce Brosnan dipped his toe back into the world of action. There was The November Man, 2015’s No Escape and then, in 2017, The Foreigner. Playing Sinn Féin politician Liam Hennessy, the Irish actor stars opposite Jackie Chan. And, while it’s a pretty easy-watching action thriller, seeing Brosnan back under the direction of Martin Campbell (who helmed Goldeneye over 20 years earlier) is a treat worth watching.
Inventing Anna, February 11th
The first of several new Netflix originals we’d recommend this month, Inventing Anna will dramatise the ludicrously true story of Anna Sorokin; a German con-woman who defrauded countless banks, hotels and socialites last decade by pretending to be a wealthy heiress. Starring Ozark’s Julia Garner, this looks to be an quick-witted, Aaron Sorkin-style spin through the Sorokin saga.
The Kill Team, February 13th
Another drama based on true events, this 2019 war film doesn’t make for light watching. Telling the story of the Maywand District murders of 2009/10, we follow Nat Wolff’s Andrew Briggman, a U.S Army recruit who uncovers corruption, vigilantism and murder in his own platoon — and is forced to confront both his superiors and his own principles.
Blackhat, February 16th
Casting Chris Hemsworth (and his considerable muscles) as a computer hacker raised some eyebrows when Michael Mann’s tech-thriller was released in 2015. But the Australian actor’s chops carry this film, which co-stars Ran Wei and Viola Davis, and follows a convicted hacker’s temporary release from prison to aid a the fight against a terrorist.
Downfall: The Case Against Boeing, February 18th
Probably not one to stick on if you’re jetting off on a city break this month, Downfall is a feature-length documentary charting the allegations made against aerospace juggernaut Boeing. With the company’s reported pursuit of profit over safety, investigators explore the factors that led to 346 deaths in two separate crashes, in 2018 and 2019.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, February 18th
Like all good bloody-minded antagonists, the best horror film franchises never die. This, the latest viscera-drenched, mass-murdering entry in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, is the ninth film in the franchise so far — and follows a group of budding young businessmen hoping to gentrify the deserted town of Harlow, Texas. Things, unsurprisingly, don’t go to plan once the chainsaws rev up.
Race: Bubba Wallace, February 22nd
You’ve watched, loved and re-watched Drive to Survive — so you know that Netflix can produce a high-quality, high-octane motorsport documentary. So why not explore the more American side of car racing? A six-episode series about NASCAR’s only full-time Black race car driver, Race: Bubba Wallace follows the 28-year-old star as he uses his voice and talent to change the sport.
Vikings: Valhalla, February 25th
During the six season run of Vikings, the historical drama built up a loyal fan following. But, even if you didn’t watch the original series, Vikings: Valhalla looks to be worth a watch. Lavishly produced, and set 100 years after the first series, it’ll follow the rising, warring tensions between the Vikings and English royals — and co-stars former Gentleman’s Journal cover star Leo Suter as famous Norwegian king Harald Hardrada.
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