Seven best documentaries on Netflix
From murder mysteries to nature epics, here are some of the most binge-worthy non-fiction shows on Netflix
Netflix has no shortage of fascinating documentaries to binge-watch, whether you’re after wildlife or a murder exposé. Here are seven of the best, available to watch now.
Evil Genius (2018)
Evil Genius is a four-part Netflix original that tries to uncover the truth behind one of America’s “most diabolical bank heists” that took place on 28 August 2003 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Pizza-delivery man Brian Wells robs a bank with a bomb locked around his neck and is subsequently blown up. Was he the victim of a sick scheme or did he have any hand in the heist? GQ calls it a “perfect binge”.
This American documentary covers the Afghanistan War. Directed by US journalist Sebastian Junger and British photojournalist Tim Hetherington, the film explores the year they spent in Afghanistan on an assignment for Vanity Fair. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian calls it a “scary, moving and troubling film”.
India's Daughter (2015)
Part of the BBC's ongoing Storyville series, India’s Daughter is based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder of Jyoti Singh, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student. After an excerpt of the documentary leaked early, the Indian government ordered that it should not be released. The BBC complied with the request and did not air the film in India; however, it was broadcast outside the country and later went viral on social media. The documentary spurred protests demanding India do more to protect its women.
Planet Earth (2006)
David Attenborough’s Emmy-winning Planet Earth is the among the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and was the first in high-definition. Eleven episodes in total, each of which features a global overview of a different biome or habitat on Earth, the series took five years to make. Ten years later, the BBC announced a six-part sequel had been commissioned, titled Planet Earth II.
The American film explores the “intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States”, says The New York Times. Directed
by Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, this film will have “your blood boiling and tear ducts leaking”, says the newspaper. Named after the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, which abolished slavery, this documentary explores the idea of how mass incarceration is a form of modern-day slavery. Powerful and moving, it takes the viewer through the history of race in America, ending with the modern-day prison industrial complex.
Amanda Knox (2016)
This documentary follows Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito who were convicted and imprisoned for the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher, a 21-year-old student from Surrey. The two spent four years in prison, but were cleared of murder in 2011. The verdicts were reinstated in 2014 and then overturned in Italy’s highest court in 2015, a year before the film’s release. The New York Times describes it as a “tightly edited, coherently structured and ultimately moving reassessment that burrows beneath the lurid in search of the illuminating”.
Director Bryan Fogel stumbles upon a major international doping scandal after setting out to prove how easy it is to evade cycling’s drug-testing system. “It’s hard to deny the power of Icarus’s message and the remarkable nature of its delivery,” says The Guardian.