Hard-hitting documentaries

The ubiquitous streaming site is good for more than sitcom binges.

Tyler Davis, Writer

Let’s be honest, most of us use Netflix to stream comedies like “Friends” and “The Office” to blow off some steam after a hard day of classes and studying. However, the streaming site hosts a surprising number of fascinating and hard-hitting documentaries. Covering everything from art to war, these documentaries are raw and informative, and definitely worth watching.

1. “Exit Through The Gift Shop”


The infamous street artist Banksy created this film. What began as an ametuer film by resident lunatic Thierry Guetta turns into something much different. Banksy compiled the incredible footage captured by Guetta of street artists such as Shepard Fairey, Invader and himself, and then turned the camera on its operator. Part documentary, part art project and part practical joke on the art world, this film is a must see.

2. “Restrepo”


Two filmmakers are embedded with the Second Platoon in the dreaded Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. This film chronicles the men’s experiences in the deadliest place in the world. Firefights, civilian interaction and the occasional dance party show a fully-formed picture of the life of these soldiers and their brotherhood. “Restrepo” will surely give viewers a newfound appreciation for the sacrifices made by the young men who put their lives on the line for their comrades and their country.

3. “Man On Wire”


There once was a frenchman named Philippe Petit, and he was insane. “Man On Wire” tells the story of Petit’s dream of walking between the World Trade Center towers on a wire, and while this premise might not sound too exciting, it definitely is. While superstar Nick Wallenda has his walks filmed for live TV, Petit did it the not-so-legal way. This is a heist film, a triumphant underdog story and a French art film all in one. This is inspirational stuff.

4. “Frontline: Secret State of North Korea”


This documentary is comprised of smuggled footage from inside the country and interviews with defectors who tell their harrowing stories of escape and survival. While some other documentaries focus on the history and politics of the nation, this film focuses on the people and how they are affected. This film paints a picture of a nation and a people not often seen in an objective light.

5. “Craigslist Joe”


This film tells the story of Joseph Garner and his month long journey to find community in the Internet age. Garner must rely only on Craigslist to get everything from food, to money to a dry place to sleep. Some nights do not go as planned, and others bring people into his life that will become life-long friends. This story will restore your faith in humanity.

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