It’s great when something among the menagerie of life brings you a good surprise, much like your cat bringing you a brand new rolex, instead of yet another dead mouse. Perhaps an odd comparison, but cat owners will understand…

This is sometimes how it feels with Netflix, because the amount of stand out viewing diminishes the longer you use the service. But when you find new titles that grab your attention, it’s something that you like to share with others.

Before we get onto them however, there has been a lot of talk about the fact that many subscribers find themselves unable to watch certain films and shows because of where they live in the world. Some services have up to nine times fewer titles available compared to the American Netflix (which has around 9,000). The entertainment company admits that this is because of the different licensing deals across the globe. Licensing deals?

Yeah. A lot of people find that explanation a little unfulfilling too. This issue can be fixed in just a few minutes though, so you can view the full range of titles available, by using sites like http://www.fixusa.com.au.

So without further adieu, let’s take a look at our two films. The main thing that links them is that they’re both crime films with a heart, which manage to walk into dark territories but uplift their audience at the same time…

The Fear Of 13 (2015)

The first thing to know about this film is that it’s not a horror. It’s actually a documentary. Sure, it’s not exactly a rom-com, since it’s based on the true life story of a man who spent 22 years on death row. But here again, this is not your typical documentary film.

The reason for this is the story telling skill of Nick Yarris: the wrongly convicted inmate, who has such a non-criminal-like presence, that he could quite easily be your average polite school teacher, a family friend, conversational shop-keeper even… Seriously. This is where the surprise comes from, it just dives straight into his life story, and you’re never certain which way it’s going to go.  

Another reason to watch this film is that it’s great for giving perspective. Here’s a man who was locked up for 21 years, yet, he decided to transform his life using education, and not lose hope. So we’re taken on one of the hardest journeys that film can attempt, taking us from the worst of situations – leaving us quietly amazed by this man’s resilience – and leaving us with one of the most inspiring true stories ever told.

 

The Drop (2014)

If you’re a fan of Tom Hardy you may have heard of this film, although it slipped under the radar for many due its limited release.

The first reason that everyone should watch this film, is that it was the last screen appearance of the late James Gandolfini (The Sopranos). It’s interesting to see the natural way that he and Hardy compliment each other’s acting, also highlighting how good Hardy is at creating a strong presence even within a low-key role.

We’re in Brooklyn, and the film explains how a ‘drop’ is the way that local bars are used to drop-off black market money for laundering. What stands out in particular about this film however, beyond any underworld dealings, is how a dog, an abandoned pit bull pup, ties it all together.

The quiet Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy), becomes the dog’s protector, along with another resident of the neighbourhood, Nadia (Noomi Rapace, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Again, it’s heartening to see a film that cares more about style, relationships, and understatement, than it does about sensationalism. And it’s one of those titles that reminds you why it was worth keeping your Netflix subscription.

So what films or documentaries have surprised you? Feel free to leave a comment so that we can share our suggestions!