I’m the sort of person who’ll just throw something onto my streaming queue when I hear about it, assuming I’ll get to it, which means by this point there are some movies on there I don’t even recognize. So, let’s watch a couple and clear them out, shall we?
First up, 10 Rillington Place. I have no idea when I added this to my watchlist. And before I pressed play, I also had no clue what it was about. It’s from 1971, stars Richard Attenborough and John Hurt, and turns out to be about the British serial killer John Christie, who framed a neighbor for his crimes in one of the U.K.’s most famous miscarriage-of-justice cases. Attenborough is one of the more frightening villains in my recent memory, a monster who looks like a nebbishy schoolteacher, with a voice barely louder than a whisper. The movie’s surprisingly frank about Christie’s sexual sadism, but with a muted tone that reflects his outward nature. It’s deeply creepy, but also a nod to the real lives of the British post-war working class. Sort of like Hitchcock with a dash of Ken Loach. And, to whoever recommended this to me, thank you, because it’s one of the best serial killer movies I’ve ever seen.
Next: Triple Frontier. An action movie where Ben Affleck steals a drug lord’s money is not the sort of thing I’d typically make a note to watch, but clicking through I see why I did. The director is J.C. Chandor, who’s made a couple relatively smaller-profile movies I really enjoyed. His style is exceedingly occupied by process—his characters are in a situation, and we see exactly what they do to deal with it. This takes what could have been a run-of-the-mill blow ‘em up and turns it into a gripping, thoughtful thriller about men, and maybe America, compromising their expressed values for greed. Chandor’s stripped-down approach makes the centerpiece heist sequence so tense it actually made my stomach hurt.
10 Rillington Place and Triple Frontier are both easy to find, and even if you don’t watch them now, I can tell you stumbling upon them in a few months will pay off just as well.