Here's another 10 of the best documentaries that is showing on Netflix right now. Following up on Part 4, Part 5 will be the final part of this series concluding with another 12 amazing documentaries that you can't get enough of.
In Flint, life grinds you down. This Netflix original series tells the story of a city where the police force is struggling to maintain control. And yet, for the most part, the drama eases past – punctuated by a gunshot, an anguished scream. It's beautifully produced – lingering shots of snow-covered, abandoned houses are cut with smooth, sliding drone panoramas. The problems facing the city are considerable: unemployment, underfunding, violence and to top it all off a poisoned water supply, It would be easy, and obvious, to turn this into a dramatic pastiche of a city on the brink. But Flint Town is a slow, considered character drama that tracks key figures in the city's police force as they struggle to maintain order. As the drama slowly unfolds, it's the city itself that becomes the most compelling character: perpetually frozen, blood-stained but fighting to survive. Watch it here.
This six-parter from Netflix explores the murky world of finance where banks knowingly launder funds on behalf of drug cartels, car manufacturers cheat on emissions tests and pharmaceutical firms ramp up the price of drugs to pay their executives' bonuses. Each episode tells a depressingly familiar story about corporations leaving morality behind in the pursuit of profits, evading justice and, in many cases, ending up reaping the rewards of their deviant behaviour. The biggest criminals, it turns out, tend to wear suits. Watch it now on Netflix.
Nominated for Best Documentary in this year's Oscars, Yance Ford's Strong Island tackles the murder of the director's own brother. His sibling was shot, but his case never saw justice. Although the story of a black man being unjustly killed is a narrative we have sadly become used to, Strong Island stands apart as largely a film about grief as well as racial injustice. It is certainly a documentary worthy of its nomination. Watch it on Netflix.
Get Me Roger Stone
Exploring the life of Republican political strategist Roger Stone, this Netflix documentary is one for fans of House of Cards, or spectators to the current real-life twists and turns within American politics. Netflix has filed Get Me Roger Stone under 'provocative', 'controversial', 'scandalous' and 'dark' – a description that fits a little too perfectly. It is suggested he is heavily responsible for creating Trump as a political figure and encouraging him to run for the United States' Presidency. This story is almost stranger than fiction, and is both engrossing and deeply troubling. Watch it on Netflix.
Making a Murderer was one of the most popular Netflix originals of last year, Casting JonBenet is cut from the same cloth. In 1996, Boulder, Colorado was rocked by the mysterious death of six-year-old pageant queen, JonBenet Ramsey. Her death was ruled as a homicide by police and received widespread media attention, but the killer was never identified - although suspicions still run wild as to who could have committed such a heinous crime. From the very first moments, Casting JonBenet leaves you with a steady sense of horror, not just at the story of JonBenet, but for the interwoven threads of tragedy connecting those who watched her story play out from afar. Watch it on Netflix.
Anaïs Bordier always knew she was adopted. Her parents were French, but she'd been born in South Korea before being adopted as a baby. What she didn't know, however, was that she might have a twin sister. That's until she stumbles across a YouTube video of an LA-based actor who looks surprisingly familiar. Twinsters follows the two young women as they adjust to their new lives and try to untangle the mystery behind their birth and separation.
The White Helmets
Having taken home the Oscar for best documentary in 2017, White Helmets is firmly one of the best things you'll watch this year. Focusing on a group of volunteer rescue workers in Syria, the film follows them as they attempt to rescue left trapped in the wake of airstrikes. The 40-minute film charts these rescue workers from Syria's Civil Defence Foreces, marking their heroism in the face of conflict and destruction. These people put their lives on the line everyday to help those in need; strangers come together in defence of human life. It's truly inspiring and heart-wrenching to witness the level of devastation these first responders brave through, and their tireless belief in each other and the people who will stay with you long after the final scene. Watch it on Netflix.
What happened, Miss Simone?
Based on the biography of the same name by Alan Light, What Happened, Miss Simone? draws on previously unseen diaries, interviews and childhood journals to look at Simone not just as the soul legend she became, but as a dedicated civil rights activist and one of the fiercest figures in generations. Simone’s struggles with mental illness are here depicted faithfully, with the input of her daughter Lisa Simone Kelly, and director Liz Garbus’s treatment is unfailingly careful and compassionate. Fluctuations in Simone’s health did little to unravel her enormous political anger and need for music – Garbus’s biopic presents an iconic figure of great complexity, whose music provided a kind of battleground for the torment she lived through. Watch it on Netflix.
Take Your Pills
In Take Your Pills, director Alison Klayman takes on the prescription stimulant craze in the US, exploring how young people use drugs like Adderall and Ritalin in the hope of benefiting from performance-enhancing effects. There are college students worried they’ll be at a disadvantage if they don’t pop a pill before an exam, a programmer who wants to live up to the myth of the coder-genius, and a finance worker whose colleague collapsed after two many Adderall-fuelled all-nighters.
The film relies heavily on personal accounts and is quite surface-level in places – a brief tangent on LSD microdosing fails to adequately explore these very different drug types – but is nevertheless an eye-opening introduction to the topic. There’s plenty of anger reserved for big pharma companies and over-zealous prescribers, but the film places a large part of the blame on a broader social ill: the pressures of a capitalistic society that drives people to do whatever it takes to be more productive. Do we really want to live in a world where teens take recreational drugs for work, not fun? Watch it here.
Bryan Fogel couldn't believe how good his rivals were in the prestigious Haute Route, the Tour de France for amateur cyclists, so he set out to prove how easy it is for cyclists to evade the doping rules. He hired experts to help, including the head of Russia's anti-doping agency, Grigory Rodchenkov. Rodchenkov proved very effective, almost too effective, and it soon became apparent why. He let slip that athletes in Russia were using similar methods to avoid detection and when this news went public, Fogel found himself making a very different documentary to the one he intended. Rodchenkov feared for his life, fled to the US and Fogel had the inside line on how the state was directing a massive, cold war-style doping scheme. This revelatory documentary offers a fascinating insight into the world of doping and will make you question how many more dopers are evading detection. Watch it on Netflix.
This Netflix original documentary explores the United States' history and relationship with racial inequality. The show is named after the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which resulted in the prohibition of slavery and freed all those who were held captive. However, the documentary shows how black people are disproportionately affected by the country's prison system and how inequality is still rife. Directed by Ava DuVernay and an incredibly powerful film, 13th won a Critic's Choice award for Best Political documentary. Watch it on Netflix.
This seven-episode Netflix series scratches the true crime itch created by Making a Murderer. It starts with the 1969 unsolved murder of nun and school teacher Cathy Cesnik, but it soon links this to accusations against priests at the school, and spreads to uncover a web of mystery and deceit way beyond just one person.
The documentary speaks to those who knew Cesnik best, including former students and those still searching for the truth about what happened to her and why. Suspicion points in several directions throughout the documentary as it slowly unpicks decades of silence, bureaucratic obfuscation and criminal collusion. It's gripping and essential viewing. Watch it on Netflix.
That's the final 12 documentaries that we've picked out from our top 52 favourite Netflix documentaries for this 5 part series. And if this isn't enough for you, do catch up on the documentaries from Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 if you have not done so.
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