30 Best 2023 Foreign Movies on Netflix Right Now

30 Best 2023 Foreign Movies on Netflix Right Now

November 9, 2023

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Say what you want, but Netflix continues to be the most popular streaming service around the world. Part of that global appeal must be because, for years now, it’s been striking deals with local studios and even creating films of its own with their help, effectively creating a reservoir of modern international films. You won’t have any difficulty finding a Netflix Original from Argentina all the way to Zambia, so the question now is, which of these are actually worth watching? You can check this link if you want a list of the all-time international greats on the service, but for the purposes of this article (and to help you stay current and updated), we gathered the best 2023 foreign-language films streaming right now on Netflix. 

21. Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction (2023)

7.0

Country

Denmark, Sweden

Director

Bille August

Actors

Alice E. Bier Zandén, Christopher Laesso, Emilie Kroyer Koppel, Jacob Ulrik Lohmann

Moods

Easy, Emotional, Grown-up Comedy

It’s slower and talkier than you’d expect from a semi-erotic film, but Ehnegard lives up to its title well enough to satisfy. It’s titillating, but in a cheeky rather than provocative way. The dialogues are lengthy, but they’re alternately witty and poetic, so despite the pace they never actually bore. Ehnegard’s real delight, however, is its beauty. Set in the old kingdom of Babenhausen, Ehnegard looks like a fairy tale come to life. The towering castles, the sprawling meadows, the twinkling forest lakes, and of course, the smartly costumed people who populate the scenery—all these and more ensure that each frame has a picturesque glow to it. And with Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, Westworld) taking charge of an appealing cast, Ehnegard proves to be a charming watch. 

22. The Black Book (2023)

7.0

Country

Nigeria

Director

Editi Effiong

Actors

Ade Laoye, Alex Usifo Omiagbo, Bimbo Akintola, Bimbo Manuel

Moods

Action-packed, Character-driven, Intense

When the system messes with you personally, it’s such a powerful fantasy to be able to settle things with your own hands. To be strong enough to retaliate, and once things are settled, to be strong enough to be left alone, not to be messed with. The Black Book depicts this revenge fantasy, reminiscent of Liam Neeson’s Taken, albeit with corrupt police. The Nigerian action thriller isn’t afraid to go hard, with threats of splitting a person in half by a table saw, dramatic shoot-outs, and fight sequences. However, what makes the thriller work is that all these action sequences are intended to be the reckoning of corrupt institutions. There are some messy parts, certain shots that included some bad takes. Despite this, The Black Book still proves to be entertaining enough to forgive these mishaps.

23. Khufiya (2023)

7.0

Country

India

Director

Vishal Bhardwaj

Actors

Alexx O'Nell, Ali Fazal, Ashish Vidhyarthi, Atul Kulkarni

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

If you’re looking for exotic locations, glamorous spies, and dramatic shoot-outs, Khufiya is not the espionage film you’re looking for. Like the original novel it’s based on, the film adaptation is a complex, intricate spy story where countries try to interfere with each other’s affairs, and agents handle the dry and dirty work to achieve this. With the true-story-based details of the source material, writer-director Vishal Bhardwaj keeps the story’s historical accuracy, but also adds a personal revenge subplot through the addition of a female main protagonist. The result of the changes complicates the film’s introduction, but if you have the patience, Khufiya still has what makes a spy drama compelling– the double-agent turns, the doubts and mistrust, and a satisfying resolution to the operation.

24. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (2023)

6.7

Country

Japan

Director

Yusuke Ishida

Actors

Akari Hayami, Daiki Miyagi, Doronzu Ishimoto, Eiji Akaso

Moods

Easy, Inspiring, Quirky

Following the success of the Zom 100 manga and anime, Netflix quickly followed suit with a live-action film, which begs the question: why? Why bother, when the freshly released series is barely a month old and already a vibrant interpretation of the comic book it was based from? Why bother, when you’re not going to bring anything new to the table? The film, more than anything, feels like a rushed cash grab that hopes to capitalize on its predecessors’ success. The premise is clever and relatable—after years of living like a zombie, a jaded employee regains a lust for life when an outbreak threatens to kill him—but the film milks it to death, so much so that by the ending, when the characters finally reach this conclusion, they can’t help but seem slow for spelling out what we’ve already known from the start. The film also looks drab and dreary, a far cry from the series’ experimental wonders. Instead of multi-colored blood bursting with every kill, we simply get metallic confetti in the movie. Instead of dynamic action, we get barely believable stunts that seem more awkward than awe-inspiring. Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead isn’t bad per se, but it doesn’t look so good next to its much-better counterparts on TV and in print. 

25. Freestyle (2023)

6.7

Country

Poland

Director

Maciej Bochniak

Actors

Artur Krajewski, Filip Lipiecki, Hana Nobis, Juliusz Chrząstowski

Moods

Thrilling

Operating in a similar style and speed as the Safdie Brothers’ Good Time and Uncut Gems, Freestyle gives us a peek into the seedy underbelly of Poland through the eyes of Diego, a smalltime muscian who slides back into his drug dealing ways when he finds himself short on money. On the sensory front, Freestyle is a thrilling experience. Diego charges the film with palpable anxiety, Kraków’s underground community lights it up in dizzying neon, and the local hip-hop scene backs it with exciting new sounds. It’s a technical feat, but stripped of these elements, Freestyle is nothing more than a predictable crime thriller populated with predictable characters, many of whom, by the way, are thrown in at random points in the movie so that it often gets confusing and infuriating to watch. Despite potentially having something to say about the apathy of youth or the glaring discrepancy between social classes, Freestyle seems solely interested in being a slick crime thriller that has its characters run around in circles to save themselves. It looks good and sounds even better, but without anything substantial holding it up, Freestyle fails to relay an authentic sense of relevance and urgency. 

26. Cyberbunker: The Criminal Underworld (2023)

6.6

Country

Germany

Director

Kilian Lieb, Max Rainer

Moods

Slow, Thought-provoking

If you’re expecting a twisty and thrilling look at a dangerous group of hackers who hide deep within a military bunker in Europe, and who refer to their entire operation as “straight from a James Bond movie,” then you might be disappointed with Cyberbunker, a dragging documentary that relies too heavily on talking heads for momentum. It takes 30 minutes to establish the relevance of these figures, and a full hour before it finally explains the actual crime and wrongdoings they’re complicit in. The most interesting parts of the case, like the FBI’s involvement, Cyberbunker’s links to the propagation of child pornography, and the group’s advocacy on internet privacy, are completely buried beneath a stack of unnecessary tidbits. I appreciate the effort of the filmmakers and the interviewees coming together to make something decently informative, but by the end of it, you’re left wondering whether all this was better off as a Wikipedia article.

27. The (Almost) Legends (2023)

6.4

Country

Mexico

Director

Ricardo Castro Velázquez

Actors

Benny Emmanuel, Dagoberto Gama, Harold Azuara, Nora Velázquez

Moods

Funny, Lighthearted, Quirky

Unabashedly proud of its own weirdness whether you like or not, The (Almost) Legends falls somewhere between being a surreal comedy, a Mexican banda musical, and a racing movie without really fully committing to any one of these identities. The result is a film that thrillingly plays to the beat of its own drum, but also frequently struggles to have all of its flashiness mean something coherent and insightful. Still, while the emotions it hopes to inspire—about coming to terms with grief and taking pride in one’s true self—fall somewhat flat, the film’s vivid colors, meticulous production direction, and sentimental heart make this kaleidoscope consistently worth keeping an eye on.

28. Soulcatcher (2023)

6.0

Country

Poland

Director

Daniel Markowicz

Actors

Jacek Koman, Jacek Poniedzialek, Piotr Witkowski

Moods

Action-packed, Suspenseful, Thrilling

Nothing happens in Soultcatcher that you haven’t seen before. There is an evil scientist who creates a weapon of mass destruction. There are government officials fighting to obtain the weapon for political gain. And of course, there is a rugged team of mercenaries, each with their own distinct identifier, tasked to save the day. None of these elements are inherently bad; often they’re even needed in a solid thriller. But Soulcatcher fumbles these elements with lousy, uninspired execution. The action sequences are terribly paced, the plot is riddled with fillers and cliches, and there are too many confusing moments that take you out of the moment. This is a shame, because the acting is not bad at all, and the production value is decent, impressive even. If only the producers allotted more of that budget to supporting the writing, then maybe Soulcatcher would’ve turned out much, much better. 

29. A Deadly Invitation (2023)

5.5

Country

Mexico

Director

José Manuel Cravioto

Actors

Aarón Díaz, Helena Rojo, José María de Tavira, Juan Pablo de Santiago

Moods

Slow

With the success of Knives Out, many filmmakers have gone back to make new films in the whodunit genre, which reached its peak between the 30s and 40s with Agatha Christie. A Deadly Invitation is one of these new murder mysteries, based on the novel of the same name by Carmen Posadas. Unfortunately, this Mexican film feels ill-timed, releasing months after the Glass Onion. Even if the source novel has been released in 2010, this film feels like a pale imitation of the Knives Out sequel, as it possesses plenty of the same plot points – as an eccentric millionaire invites their potential murderers for a party in the middle of nowhere, along with someone to solve said murder. There are some differences, specifically, the death actually occurs here, but these differences, along with the careless way each info is revealed, aren’t enough to make A Deadly Invitation feel unique.

30. Bird Box Barcelona (2023)

5.4

Country

Spain, United States of America

Director

Àlex Pastor, David Pastor

Actors

Alejandra Howard, Celia Freijeiro, Diego Calva, Georgina Campbell

Moods

Dark, Intense, Raw

Despite an engaging opening that promises to deepen the world already established in 2018’s Bird Box, this new installment slips back into the usual routine before long. That is: cheap thrills and an overall lack of scares, not necessarily because of the fact that the creatures terrorizing this world are invisible, but because the film doesn’t take advantage of the fear and paranoia that builds among the human characters. A stronger focus on religious belief (or simply blind fanaticism) should lead to more interesting character dynamics, but there isn’t a single person here who’s defined by anything beyond a few base traits. So despite the efforts of a game cast (including Babylon’s Diego Calva and especially Barbarian’s Georgina Campbell), the film just can’t overcome how boring it is to watch blindfolded people reacting to nothing.

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