155 Best Movies & Shows Released in 2023 On Netflix UK (Page 6)

Staff & contributors
Find the best movies and show to watch from the year 2023. These handpicked recommendations are highly-rated by viewers and critics.

In depictions of organized crime, we’re used to the stone-cold crime boss, and the conflicted, unwilling crime lord, but Miss Shampoo presents a new version of the gangster– one that’s fallen head over heels in love. The film plays out in hilarious ways, with the humor expected from writer-director Giddens Ko, and Daniel Hong and Vivian Sung are able to inject some heart into their performances with surprising chemistry. That being said, the film is clearly more interested in mocking organized crime, so the film feels more skewed towards Tai rather than Fen. It’s still really entertaining, though Miss Shampoo had so much more it could have shown, had it focused equally on Fen’s perspective.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Romance

Actor: Bai Jing Yi, Bruce He, Chih-ju Lin, Duan Chun-hao, Duncan Lai, Honduras, Hong Yu Hong, Hsin-Ling Chung, Kai Ko, Ke-Li Miao, Kent Tsai, Teng-Hung Hsia, Tsai Chang-Hsien, Vivian Sung, Wei-min Ying

Director: Giddens Ko

Stories like Il Mare and Your Name/Kimi no Na Wa work because, unlike other romances, the conflict is understandably difficult. After all, how the heck can anyone fight against time and space? Love You Long Time takes a stab at the unique time-bending premise, with one main difference: the movie’s main lovers can talk to each other directly through an old pair of two-way radios. There’s no need for the two to depend on physical letters or texts. This difference is interesting – immediately, it allows Director JP Habac to play with cinematography, editing, and acting, to make us fall in love with the couple. Split between 2018 and 2022, the film makes meaningful points about the past and present, the years lost to the pandemic, and separation. However, without spoiling anything, the film’s third-act plot twists don’t land as well as they could have. Having them back to back made the plot nearly incomprehensible, and sadly, doesn’t resolve the conflict driving the film.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Ana Abad-Santos, Arlene Muhlach, Carlo Aquino, Meanne Espinosa, Patrick Quiroz

Director: Jaime P. Habac Jr.

Hipgnosis’s body of work is so rich, brilliant, and recognizable, that it’s hard not to at least sit in awe as they flash by you in this documentary. The accompanying stories behind their creation, sometimes told by Thorgerson and Powell, other times by their musician clients like Jimmy Page and Paul McCartney, are also pleasant and informative enough to paint, in whole, an interesting picture. But apart from the covers themselves, Squaring the Circle doesn’t have much else going for it. The co-founders’ history is too brief and plain to render drama, and their upbringing too upper-class and male to be relatable. A more broad, ambitious goal would’ve been to parallel the history of these artworks with the history of rock music itself, but this niche documentary seems uninterested in explaining itself to outsiders and newcomers. That said, it still serves as a precious account for those familiar with Hipgnosis’ pieces. 

Genre: Documentary, Music

Actor: David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Nick Mason, Noel Gallagher, Paul McCartney, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Roger Waters

Director: Anton Corbijn

Depressingly, Scout's Honor isn't necessarily an exposé about the crimes of the Boy Scouts of America because—as the documentary reminds us—this institution has been caught red-handed many times over since its inception, and yet it evades real accountability. The film is more like a renewed call for justice, with its approach being one of blunt force. This means that the documentary can be sloppy, piling on one case after another without much synthesis, and taking out its anger on one current representative of the Boy Scouts, whom the filmmakers constantly interrupt and interrogate during his interview, That said, it's also hard to object to this kind of approach, as the patterns of abuse become too damning to ignore. Maybe a different film will be able to unpack the systems that allow the Boy Scouts to get away with this, but for now this cry of rage is enough.

Genre: Crime, Documentary

Director: Brian Knappenberger

Pushing an already extreme activity even further beyond its limits, Ueli Steck and Dani Arnold have became the world champions of speed climbing—a variation of the sport that places much greater importance on direct competition over communing with nature. It's fascinating to hear what drives Steck and Arnold to courting death like this, and to see how their vastly different backgrounds and processes have still made them equals in the field. The documentary eventually runs out of ideas, however, as it clumsily shifts tones leading into its last third, and concludes abruptly without much synthesis of everything that had come before. It's still a worthwhile adventure whether or not one is into climbing; it's just disappointing that this story of such a unique rivalry settles into a more generic rhythm by the end.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Documentary

Actor: Dani Arnold, Ueli Steck

Director: Götz Werner, Nicholas de Taranto

Rating: PG-13

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.

Genre: Crime, Documentary

Director: Kilian Lieb, Max Rainer

Rating: PG-13

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and it’s the main reason why filmmakers keep cashing in with old media franchises. Archie has been reimagined before, with the bewildering twists and turns of the CW’s Riverdale, but this time, it’s India’s turn with the franchise, and Graphic India and Tiger Baby Films partnered with the original publication to reimagine the town as an Anglo-Indian community in The Archies. The production design is undoubtedly stunning, with the maximalist Bollywood spectacle borrowing from 60’s Americana, and the musical numbers aren't half bad either. However, it’s the story and characterization that falters, as it feels like the leads are just going through the motions of the familiar love triangles. The film is still fun to watch, but ultimately, it feels like The Archies relies on spectacle to make up for its shortcomings.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance

Actor: Agastya Nanda, Alyy Khan, Delnaaz Irani, Dot., Farhan Akhtar, Khushi Kapoor, Koel Purie, Luke Kenny, Mihir Ahuja, Puja Sarup, Satyajit Sharma, Suhana Khan, Tara Sharma, Vedang Raina, Vinay Pathak

Director: Zoya Akhtar

Parenting is hard by itself, but it’s moreso hard when done alone, especially if there was supposed to be a partner alongside the journey. Thank You, I’m Sorry depicts this through Sara, who has to deal with her husband’s absence and difficulties in connecting with her husband’s family in his stead, on top of her pregnancy, but it’s her connection with her estranged sister Linda that can make or break her journey. The dynamic between the sisters is what drives the film. Sanna Sundqvist and Charlotta Björck manage to depict the strained yet clearly loving relationships naturally, and it’s lovely to see the mundane ways they reestablish their bond. It’s a unique story, though it does feel rushed and some of the humor can be totally off-putting.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Charlotta Björck, Ia Langhammer, Jonatan Rodriguez, Sanna Sundqvist, Ville Virtanen

Director: Lisa Aschan

Rating: PG-13

Suzzanna: Kliwon Friday Night is the second part of a trilogy dedicated to Indonesia’s queen of horror, billed as Suzzanna New Generation. The trilogy recreates three of Suzzanna’s iconic films, and the second installment is based on the 1986 film Malam Jumat Kliwon. The supernatural horror isn’t exactly scary– the film takes a bit too long between the scares, and there are moments that are downright hilarious. However, fans of the original scream queen would appreciate Luna Maya’s take on her demonic role, shifting the sundel bolong into a woman rightfully out for revenge.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Actor: Achmad Megantara, Baron Hermanto, Clift Sangra, Egy Fedly, Ence Bagus, Luna Maya, Max Yanto, Sally Marcelina, Taskya Namya, Tio Pakusadewo, Yurike Prastica

Director: Guntur Soeharjanto

An unsung hero of the civil rights movement gets the customary Oscar bait treatment in this biopic. Though he was instrumental in organizing the historic March on Washington — which helped force the US government to enshrine civil rights — gay Black activist Bayard Rustin isn’t the household name his peers are. In an inversion of that narrative, figures like Martin Luther King appear here as supporting characters to Colman Domingo’s Bayard.

Domingo’s energetic, commanding performance holds the center of the film, but he’s ill-served by the formulaic approach to storytelling that unfolds around him. More than a few scenes feel like they were written, directed, and performed with an eye to making awards ceremony clips, giving the film a disjointed, self-aware air. And yet, for all the limits of its by-the-numbers approach, Rustin does manage to pack in glints of insight. By virtue of who he was, Bayard will never not make for a compelling central figure — so even lackluster filmmaking can’t sap this inherently radical material of all its power. Though not without its flaws, then, the film is valuable for the light it sheds on the polarising effect Bayard's identity as a gay Black man had within the movement and the intersectional depths he nevertheless brought to it. 

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Adrienne Warren, Aml Ameen, Audra McDonald, Bill Irwin, Carra Patterson, CCH Pounder, Chris Rock, Colman Domingo, Cotter Smith, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Daniel Johnson, Glynn Turman, Gus Halper, Jeffrey Wright, Johnny Ramey, Lilli Kay, Maxwell Whittington-Cooper, Michael Potts

Director: George C. Wolfe

Rating: PG-13

There’s a sense of disconnectedness in RedLife, as the film isn’t centered on one storyline, but rather two storylines that at first don’t seem connected. Ter, a young snatcher, marries a sex worker named Mild, while Som is a student who aspires to escape her prostitute mom’s poverty, especially after she falls for the more affluent Peach. At first, the film depicts their lives in stunningly framed, slice-of-life moments that captures a different side of Bangkok, one that’s tough to depict, but one people know about. But they do intersect, later on in the movie, in a series of events that leads them trapped in tragedy, despite all they did to escape it. The unexpected twist makes their lives surprisingly poignant, though RedLife’s journey might take too long to get there.

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Actor: D Gerrard, Karnpicha Pongpanit, Sumitra Duangkaew, Supitcha Sangkhachinda, Thiti Mahayotaruk

Director: Ekalak Klunson

Nuovo Olimpo is stunning, atmospheric, and the very concept of the film – where lost love intersects with Italian cinema – is an interesting one. Starting the film’s relationship at a specific movie theater feels reminiscent of Cinema Paradiso, especially as Enea’s path mirrors Salvatore becoming a famous director. However, the film doesn’t really dive deep into this concept, nor does it add much to say with its gay romance. There’s something here about the relationship between the creator and the viewer that is undeniably interlinked, and there’s a hope that they can meet in the middle. But when the film doesn’t care about the couple’s individual paths, there are times it feels like it’s just going through the motions.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Aglaia Mora, Andrea Di Luigi, Aurora Giovinazzo, Damiano Gavino, Giancarlo Commare, Greta Scarano, Loredana Cannata, Luisa Ranieri

Director: Ferzan Özpetek

Rating: R

Ijogbon is a straightforward thriller centered on a pouch of uncut diamonds, which bring chaos to the four teenagers that find it. With the film’s young cast, the ensemble, understandably, makes poor decisions when given a stack of cash. The way they and their families handle difficulties, like deciding who to get the gun, or deciding what to do when they find random dead bodies, actually feel humorous – there’s something to be said about how, given the right circumstances, both kids and adults make the same mistakes. Thematically, there’s also something here about how natural resources in Nigeria are made for high end technology they can’t afford. However, the film doesn’t really delve into its themes, or play up the comedic potential it has shown, deciding instead to play out the same way similar stories do.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Bimbo Manuel, Fawaz Aina, Ruby Akubueze, Sam Dede, Yemi Solade

Director: Kunle Afolayan

Between the film’s non-existent marketing and Hollywood's ongoing writers' strike, I knew not to expect much from Heart of Stone, Netflix’s latest direct-to-streaming outing. And sure enough, the spy thriller proved to be a mediocre watch. The plot is facile and generic, another one of those attempts at justifying AI and government data breaches. The acting is subpar, which is expected from the ever-stoic Gal Gadot. About the only good thing you can say about it is that it has entertaining action sequences. Gadot is precise and terrifying, a stunt wonder made for the genre. Now if only the acting matched the action, then maybe the film wouldn’t feel as plain and wooden. 

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Alia Bhatt, Archie Madekwe, BD Wong, Enzo Cilenti, Gal Gadot, Glenn Close, Jamie Dornan, Jing Lusi, Jon Kortajarena, Jónas Alfreð Birkisson, Luca Fiamenghi, Mark Ivanir, Matthias Schweighöfer, Neran Persaud, Paul Ready, Roy Sampson, Sophie Okonedo, Thomas Arnold

Director: Tom Harper

Rating: PG-13

Crypto Boy may seem, at first, to primarily warn against the allure of cryptocurrency, but at heart, it’s a family drama centered around an ambitious man and his immigrant Egyptian father. The Dutch Netflix film is actually a whole family affair, with writer-director Shady El-Hamus casting his brother Shahine and their father Sabri Saad in a real and relatable struggle between generations. That being said, the film is definitely less interested in the actual cryptocurrency scam presented. It takes such a predictable route that the protagonist comes off as foolish, rather than understandably ambitious. With his parallel to the villain, the film seems like it wants its viewers to empathize with the rich Mark Zuckerberg-wannabe, rather than cathartically put him through the consequences. This makes the film feel as disappointing as the crypto promises, as viewers are lured into the film for this, but come out with another thing entirely.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Aus Greidanus, Hannah van Lunteren, Jonas Smulders, Kendrick Etmon, Leny Breederveld, Loes Schnepper, Manoushka Zeegelaar-Breeveld, Minne Koole, Raymond Thiry, Shahine El-Hamus, Tobias Kersloot

Director: Shady El-Hamus