2020 has come and gone, but some of its films have stuck with us. Even though Netflix is commonly referred to for its expansive television show selection, it has more than a few great original flicks to see. It can be tough, of course, to track them all down. Even though a good few are bound to be available in your current country, some remain geo-blocked behind international borders.
Fortunately, there are still a few ways to check out 2020’s best-in-show movies. Using a VPN will let you unlock Netflix libraries easily, legally and with great results. As for finding the best films to watch, 2020’s greatest hits are totally worth mentioning. Here are our top picks:
Let’s kick things off with Chris Hemsworth—as it’s always a great place to start. Extraction is a new Netflix action movie that pairs Hemsworth with Marvel’s own Anthony and Joe Russo. Protagonist Tyler Rake may not have superpowers, but he can certainly withstand fights with dozens of crime lords. Exploring the mysteries of weapons dealers, Tyler Rake soon finds his black-market mercenary career taking a turn for the worst—or, perhaps the best. With nothing to lose, he enters a mad dash against time—and countless adversaries—to save a crime lord’s son. If you’re looking for a great thriller to start off your Netflix Originals binge—Extraction is the place to start.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
It isn’t every day we see power-packed A-list acting rosters—but Netflix has proven, time and time again, that it’s a force to be reckoned with in terms of leveraging Holywood talent and production funds. The Trial of the Chicago 7 gives us Sacha Baron Cohen, Alex Sharp, Eddie Redmayne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Carroll Lynch and more. Explore the 1968 protests which exploded from Chicago’s Democratic National Convention. Taking a deep dive into late-60s federal government conspiracies, Cold War patriotism and social unrest, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is technically a legal drama film. Make no mistake, however, because you’ll get much more than courtroom talks, here. Viewers, be advised: It’s a pretty violent film—no doubt. This said, it does capture the era’s events accurately—and is totally worth a watch.
Still fiending for Stranger Things, Season Three? Check out Millie Bobby Brown’s stellar acting, in the meantime, by watching a Sherlock Holmes film. Yep—it’s true: The world still has more Sherlock Holmes to share, and Enola Holmes deals it in spades.
The film also features Man of Steel’s Henry Cavill—as well as Helena Bonham Carter. The story follows Sherlock’s younger sister, Enola, who finds herself joining alongside the legend to discover the truth about their missing mother. Conspiracies abound in Enola Holmes, and its 123-minute runtime assures no second goes to waste.
The Platform is a Spanish film, and it’s absolutely worthwhile if you’re into science fiction and dystopian stories. This said, the film is surely enjoyable by those who aren’t keen on the genre regardless. Directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, The Platform features Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale and Massagué.
As for the dystopian tale itself: Viewers will take on a wild ride when exploring The Platform’s prison system: In the unyielding caste-society, one person strives to undo the past for a better future. The film certainly has a lot to say about mass incarceration in general, but its messages are, ultimately, hopeful ones. Even though The Platform isn’t available in every country, it’s still accessible via a VPN—and totally worth a watch.
This one is a throwback to 2006, but is nonetheless one of the greatest film’s featured on Netflix during 2020. Pan’s Labyrinth, written and directed by the legendary Guillermo del Toro, is an epic dark fantasy film of Spanish-Mexican co-production. Starring Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Ariadna Gil, Doug Jones and Ivana Baquero, the film’s take on mythical landscapes persists as one of the creepier fantasy films.
Following the Spanish Civil War, and entering the Francoist period, the story jumps into tales of war, encounters with fairies and gruesome monsters. Don’t tread lightly into Pan’s Labyrinth, however, as the film has more than several sharp teeth. All the while, viewers will love following the protagonist, an imaginative Ofelia, as she travels the all-but-empty undergrounds after a faun. It’s a harsh, violent world down there—but Pan’s Labyrinth does a great job at revealing deeper truths about ours above. You can still catch Pan’s Labyrinth, if you dare, streaming on Netflix currently. It might’ve been a great 2020 film—but its intriguing gifts keep giving.
Hopping over to another awesome Spanish horror film, Veronica has kept 2020’s Netflix-goers at the edge of their seats. It’s said that the film has a tendency of scaring folks off, too, due to its portrayal of an Ouija board’s paranormal phenomena. That isn’t all, of course, as the tale follows the winding roads of archaic horrors surrounding a solar eclipse, a deceased parent and more inexplicable deaths.
Veronica hit theaters in 2017, but it’s another Netflix heavy-hitter that popped back up in 2020 to give us a scare. If you’re feeling courageous, definitely give it a view. Just know, first, that you’re walking into a film allegedly based on a true story: One about mysterious disappearances following—you’ve guessed it—the use of an Ouija board.
The Boys in the Band
This one is a Joe Mantello stage-to-screen adaptation, following the 1968 stage play. Yet another film with great actors across the board, The Boys in the Band features Matt Bomer, Charlie Carver, Jim Parsons, Tuc Watkis and Andrew Rannells. Starting off as a surprise birthday party, this tale soon reveals a number of groundbreaking truths with the arrival of an unexpected visitor.
The Boys in the Band spans across friendship, New York lifestyle, evening drinks and plenty of laughs. True to the stage original, the film is also well-known for its depiction of complexities facing gay men in the late 60s. Every actor in the film version has reprised their original 2018 Broadway revival roles, certainly making the film more unique than other stage-to-film adaptations.
Atlantics brings us to Dakar’s capital, Senegalese, to follow the story of Ada. This international romantic drama is of the supernatural sort, directed by Mati Diop. The film has quite a positive reputation, having been chosen to compete at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival for the Palme d’Or. Diop had already made history when the film premiered, entering the industry as the first black woman to direct a film featured in the festival’s competition.
As for Ada, her tale takes us across family struggles, local crime, employment struggles and the realities of class differences and social migration. In Dakar, along the Atlantic coast, we see a futuristic tower upon the horizon. When workers leave unexpectedly one night, taking to the ocean to head to Spain, dangerous mysteries are created in their wake. From wedding day fires to grave-digging, Atlantics is a wild ride from start to finish.
Co-creator of Master of None, Alan Yang, has created a great work of art yet again. As his directorial debut, Tigertail follows a man by the name of Pin-Jui. From infancy into childhood in Taiwan, Pin-Jui’s story takes us to America during his middle-age years. The story hops between the two sides of the coin, comparing the many intricacies of the immigrant experience while embracing past regrets and generational bonds alike.
Tigertail will keep viewers hankering for more, no doubt, as the film’s history can barely be contained within the scope of the film itself. It’s said that Yang’s script draft was over a whopping 200 pages, too, leaving many wondering whether or not we’ll see a much-awaited sequel. Tigertail covers nearly every life stage’s wants, woes, warnings and winnings, sweeping across a passionless marriage to redemption. The film takes up a risky balancing act, but it succeeds at every turn. Whether alone or with the family, watching Tigertail is a movie night decision you won’t forget.
Time to Hunt
The South Korean thriller, Time to Hunt, is packed with big guns, gambling, dystopian police departments and more. You’ll find Train to Busan’s Choi Woo-shik in this one—fresh from her breakout role. The story’s winding roads never slow down, giving us a rollercoaster of a ride. It’s a bit longer in the runtime department, but its sequence build-ups are well worth the extra viewing time. From automatic rifle fights in the streets to heart-pounding contract killer pursuits, Time to Hunt lives up to its name in every regard.
Getting the Most Out of Your Netflix with a VPN
And there we have it: 2020’s biggest film features, new and memorable alike. Fortunately, you can still find a couple of them streaming on Netflix—for now, at least. If you can’t find them natively, though, don’t worry. Netflix films do indeed rotate in and out, giving us more chances to catch some great films with our streaming subscriptions.
If you want to check out these great hits sooner, rather than later, you can as well. VPNs are very affordable, costing as little as a couple of dollars per month. Essentially, a VPN provider reroutes your device’s IP address safely through their own server. So, if your film of choice happens to be viewable in another country—but not your own—you need only opt for a server in that location to view it. You’ll still need a Netflix subscription, of course, but this is a great way to gain access to all of Netflix’s current library. So why not try it out? The world is packed with great movies—and the best ones are already available to your Netflix account.