Ryan Gosling-starring thriller The Gray Man has recently arrived on Netflix and, as the service’s most expensive film to date, is bound to be one of July's biggest movie streaming hits. Based on Mark Greaney’s best-selling eponymous novel and written, produced and directed by the Russo brothers (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame), The Gray Man sees a “shadowy CIA agent [who] uncovers damning agency secrets” hunted down by a psychopathic former colleague (Chris Evans). As one action sequence cost $40m and took a whole month to shoot (as reported by the New York Times), the brand-new blockbuster promises lots of fun, fast-paced action.
The Gray Man is in good company when it comes to book-to-film adaptations on Netflix, though, and if you’re looking for some inspiration on what to watch next, these four superb suggestions definitely deserve to be added to your Watch List…
Peak Michael Keaton heads up a star-studded cast in this necessary and well-told Netflix drama inspired by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg’s What Is Life Worth?, an unbelievable memoir of his appointment as administrator of the federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund just days after September 11th 2001. The unprecedented fund was set up to compensate families who lost loved ones in the attack but was criticised by many for its seeming protection of businesses over people as it involved victims raising their right to sue airlines and other potentially responsible companies. Worth sensitively and effectively tells the true story of the proceeding months and how the enduring process affected Feinberg and the many families for the rest of their lives.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (2019)
Another must-watch film on Netflix based on a book that recounts a true story, this adaptation of a memoir by William Kamkwamba marks marks Chiwetel Ejiofor's directorial debut, in which he also stars. The Boy Who follows a 14-year-old called Kamkwamba living in a small village in Malawi, Africa who is forced to leave school but, shortly after and inspired by a science book he finds in a library, creates a wind turbine in the hope of saving his people from famine. A remarkable story and portrait of rural African life that is painfully sad but overarchingly hopeful and inspiring.
Into the Wild (2007)
One of the best movies on Netflix, period. Sean Penn writes and directs this cult classic based on Jon Krakauer's 1996 widely acclaimed and international non-fiction bestseller about Christopher McCandless, a law-school-hopeful-turned-vagabond-adventurer who hiked across North America into the Alaskan wilderness in the early 90s. Into the Wild is a beautiful and moving journey of self-discovery and character study earnestly played by Emile Hirsch. And we challenge you not to head straight to the compassionate acoustic soundtrack by Eddie Vedder on your streaming service of choice afterward, too.
The Old Guard (2020)
If your adrenalin is still high after watching The Gray Man and are looking for a film of similar ilk to keep it there, you could do a lot worse than to spend two hours in the company of Charlize Theron in this adaptation of Greg Rucka's eponymous graphic novel. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, Beyond the Lights), The Old Guard follows Andy (Theron) as leader of a clandestine group of tight-knit hired guns with the shared super-power of immediate regeneration and the inability to die, and it's refreshingly gritty and grounded for a superhero flick.
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