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 the excellent free service SBS-on-Demand.
Paths of Glory
Stanley Kubrick’s anti-war masterpiece, Paths of Glory follows Kirk Douglas playing a colonel trying to defend a group of soldiers under his command against court martials of cowardice. This is Douglas’ finest performance – he doesn’t have that kind of Hollywood sheen over his performance that he does in other films, everything is so necessary and brilliant. Kubrick’s film is almost amorphous – it changes from a political film, to a war-time epic, to a court-room drama within 90 minutes, and he handles it brilliantly. What I love about this film most of all, is that it’s a short one. It’s lean, and distilled story as opposed to Kubrick’s later works, everything is important, and there’s no time to be bored. Where I think Kubrick’s longer works like Barry Lyndon and 2001 lack a kind of emotional urgency, Paths of Glory so elegantly and precisely concerns itself with the emotions of soldiers – the final scene of a young German woman singing for the resting men doesn’t play out how you’d think, and is a wonderful, emotionally resonant cap to the tragic comedy of the rest of the film.
“Gentlemen of the court, there are times that I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race and this is one such occasion.”
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
A sci-fi classic, it’s one of the best remakes ever made and a staple in any good horror diet. It’s a very classically-made film, in the sense that it takes its time, there are scenes (yes, I’m looking at you Star Wars 9), and there is a nice, solid ramp up to the ultimate futility of the climax. This remake concerns a health inspector’s startling discovery that humans are becoming replaced by duplicates, sprouted from alien spores that have landed on earth. It so brilliantly captures the paranoia, and the sense of claustrophobia that would happen if you thought everybody around you was a fake. The final scene of the film, one of the most famous in horror cinema history, is simply haunting and a great shock if you’ve never experienced it before. Give it a watch!
“We came here from a dying world. We drift through the universe, from planet to planet, pushed on by the solar winds. We adapt and we survive. The function of life is survival.”