5. The Central Park Five
Having previously directed the award-winning documentary 13th about injustice in America’s prison system, Ava DuVernay’s second Netflix-produced filmis at the top of the must-watch pile for 2019. As the title alludes, The Central Park Five will cover one of the most infamous crime of the 1980s, and the subsequent racially-charged trial that saw five teenagers wrongfully convicted of sexual assault.
Unlike 13th, The Central Park Five is a scripted drama series focusing on the 1989 attack and sexual assault of Trisha Meili in New York City’s Central Park, the media firestorm surrounding the trial, and the eventual exoneration of the convicted men following the 2002 confession of convicted murderer and serial rapist Matias Reyes. All the main roles have been cast, with notable stars such as Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, and Felicity Huffman in supporting roles. DuVernay will write and direct all four episodes, while also serving as executive producer.
4. The Irishman
The fact that a legendary filmmaker such as Martin Scorsese is making a direct-to-streaming feature film shows just how far Netflix-produced media has come since the company first started putting out original programming in 2012. With streaming-backed productions such as Manchester by the Sea and Mudbound earning serious Oscar consideration in recent years, the door is now open for more auteur filmmakers like Scorsese to try their hand at a different sort of film distribution model, which brings us to his latest feature.
The Irishman marks Scorsese’s ninth(!) collaboration with Robert De Niro, who stars as Frank Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman behind the murder of Jimmy Hoffa, played by Al Pacino. Yes, that’s right: The Irishman marks the first time Pacino has starred in a Scorsese-directed film and with a stellar supporting cast that includes Joe Pesci, Anna Paquin, Bobby Cannavale, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Romano, there’s a very good chance this could be Scorsese’s best work since The Departed.