With so many titles to choose from, Netflix Instant's library can be overwhelming. So we bring you this biweekly column as a tool to cut through the clutter by highlighting some now streaming titles that pair well with the latest theatrical releases.
Looking to Elysium, Kick-Ass 2, and Lee Daniels’ The Butler for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of dystopian science fiction, dark superhero stories, and docudramas that chronicle major moments in U.S. history.
As follow-up to his critically heralded District 9, writer-director Neill Blomkamp presents a story of class struggle set in 2154. Elysium is a space station that houses Earth’s wealthiest citizens in an ever-lovely manufactured environment free of crime and disease. On their home planet below, the poor and sick scrape by with big dreams of escape. But this class separation may be shattered when one scrappy have-not straps on a superhuman exoskeleton and aims to take Elysium down. Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley co-star; Blomkamp directs. (Read our full review here.)
Science fiction is a genre that often warns us of the ills in society’s present that could lead to horrific futures. Will we force children to murder each other for our amusement? Will emotions become criminal? Or will the rise of the machines push humanity into debauched chaos? Find out with these three dystopian dramas.
The Hunger Games (2012) Based on the best-selling YA novel by Suzanne Collins, this teen-centered adventure follows young Katniss Everdeen, a impoverished girl sent to fight in a cruel child competition set up by a tyrannical government. To survive, she must be the last one standing, but can she strike down the sweet boy who once saved her family from starvation? Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Woody Harrelson star; Gary Ross directs.
Equilibrium (2002) Christian Bale fronts this thriller that has him playing a trench-coat wearing cop in a fascist future where emotions are outlawed, a ruling enforced but subduing the populace with a mood-dulling drug. But when this law enforcer skips a dose of his prescribed mood meds, he awakes with feelings he refuses to give up. And so becomes a threat to this stoic society. Emily Watson and Taye Diggs co-star; Kurt Wimmer directs.
Metropolis Restored (1927) Arguably the most iconic dystopian drama ever made, Metropolis is set in the not-so-distant future of 2026 where the wealth disparity has become so extreme that poor live underground while the wealthy enjoy the jaunty splendor of the surface world. But when one rich man falls for a humble have-not girl, he decides to lead the charge to social revolt! Will his efforts be undone by a chaos-spurring robot who dances with fiery abandon? Note: this version is a recently restored edition that contains the most original footage since the film toured the world in 1928. Brigitte Helm, Joh Fredersen, and Gustav Frohlich star; Fritz Lang directs.