Doug’s Triple Reco Whammy

One of the most popular topics of conversation these days is who has seen what, where, and how it was. Series and movies on Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Sky, BBC etc. Recommendations are gold.

I’m always on the lookout for solid recommendations from my friends and family and I’m always happy to share. 

I hope we can perhaps start a thing – if you’ve seen something that you’d like to tell people about then tell us and we’ll help you tell the OZB community.  

So I’m going to tell you about three series that I thoroughly recommend that I’ve watched recently:

First up is “No Man’s Land” on HBO. This is a slick, intelligent, modern, political thriller series that seeks to shed some light on what has been going on in Syria. It sounds potentially bleak but it avoids gore and, though the Islamic State feature, I didn’t find it overly or depressingly heavy. It’s a rollicking good old fashioned adventure first and foremost.

The central premise is a Frenchman goes to Syria to find his sister who was presumed dead but who he thinks he saw on news footage. He winds up captured by an army of Kurdish women – the YPG (a real fighting force in that region). Parallel to this there’s a thread about three idealistic, London Muslims who have travelled to Syria to join the Islamic State, though there’s more to one of them than first appears. 

It’s gritty and exotic and it cuts along at a good pace. There are some genuinely exciting parts and even a sprinkling of romance. What more could you want? 8.5/10

My next recommendation is for “Snabba Cash” on Netflix, a Swedish/Lebanese hybrid that charts the mixed fortunes of an ambitious single mother of Lebanese extraction on the verge of hooking a huge investor for her start-up as she tries to shake a past that involved a dangerous drug kingpin. Woven together are two worlds, one of unicorn dreams and brash, supercar driving, billionaire investors the other of pimply drug mules, kebab restaurants, assassinations and shoot outs all with an urban Swedish backdrop. Sounds incongruous and in places it is but the writing, the pacing and the acting is such that in no time the viewer is 110% invested in the characters. I found myself shouting at the screen several times and staying up way later than was strictly sensible to watch the thrilling denouement. Utterly superb! 9/10   

Finally I’d suggest “Green Frontier” also on Netflix. Some missionaries have been murdered deep in Columbian Amazonia and one of the many “Uncontacted” tribes in that area is prime suspect. A Bogota based detective arrives to investigate and it transpires that she’s originally from this area, possibly even this tribe. The sense of place – the heat, the humidity, the noise of the jungle are all captured superbly. There’s a tiny boat speeding along an enormous river cutting through a vast tropical landscape and it takes your breath away. The cinematography is extraordinary, pure art in places. There’s a salty river port where anything goes and it’s a tremendous place to escape to in your head at least in these somewhat claustrophobic times. The tale errs on the convoluted in places, granted, viewers must pay attention, it’s true, but the acting is resolutely solid and the sense of place is palpable. 7.5/10   


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