Streaming Suggestions is a month-by-month series of recommendations for film lovers and those interested in expanding their horizons.
While I assume most readers will have at least one of the popular streaming services, I understand that some don’t so I have also included excellent free services such as Kanopy (UNSW) and SBS on Demand.
The Apartment (1960) – available as of 10 March 2020
Billy Wilder. Shirley MacLaine. Jack Lemmon. That’s about all I need to say. But for the sake of the readers, I’ll say a bit more.
The Apartment superficially is a romantic comedy which goes through many of the predictable Hollywood tropes we’ve now seen done to death, yet somehow the screenplay of the film is probably the strongest of any film I’ve ever seen. Every single set-up has a pay-off. The story itself begins with an insurance clerk renting out his apartment to co-workers and bosses for their extramarital flings.
The character dynamic between Lemmon and MacLaine’s character is legendary, unparalleled, and has a charming end. The director’s ability to so deftly work the narrative into a compelling film, never fully revealing its hand, is a testament to his craftsmanship. Streamers may approach this film with trepidation, after all, it’s 60 years old this year, and is in black and white, but trust me. It’s well worth the watch.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) – available as of 10 March 2020
Off the back of critically acclaimed films such as Blue Valentine and Drive, Ryan Gosling stars in one of the most underrated crime epics ever made. The Place Beyond the Pines received a relatively lukewarm reception when released in 2012, with some calling it too long, contrived and melodramatic.
I reject these criticisms.
It’s a brilliant work. Filled with intense and beautiful sequences, the film itself deals with themes of justice, cosmic fate and the idea of sins passing from father to son. The film is shot gorgeously, is well paced and has an excellent story-shift that leaves the viewer perplexed as to where it can go next.