As we near the end of the first month of 2023, international titles are having a moment on Netflix. Two of the Top 10 Netflix TV shows in the US are foreign titles most American viewers have probably never heard of — including the Turkish fantasy series Shahmaran and the French WWII drama Women at War. On the film side, meanwhile, the top two movies in the US at the moment are both international films — a Korean sci-fi drama JUNG_E, and a Norweigian WWII drama titled Narvik.
The latter, in fact, is currently the #1 movie on Netflix in the US, based on the streaming giant’s domestic Top 10 list. Moreover, Narvik is about a protracted confrontation during the second world war that, among other things, delivered Hitler his first loss.
Narvik: #1 on Netflix
According to Netflix’s official summary of this 1 hour and 49-minute film, “The Norweigian army and their allies combat German forces over 62 brutal days in the World War II battle that’s famously known as Hitler’s first defeat.”
The movie feels like something of a hidden gem, since few people seem to be talking or writing about it online — but, at the same time, it’s also hard to describe Narvik as such when it’s currently the #1 move in the US on the biggest streamer in the world. All the more impressive, it’s also currently beating out much bigger Netflix originals like Glass Onion and the new Christian Bale drama The Pale Blue Eye.
“Just watched Narvik on Netflix,” one Twitter user wrote earlier this week. “Nice little Norwegian WW2 film. More of a tense & emotional family drama than an epic war film. It feels small-scale, with a tightly written plot & a small but excellent cast. A tale full of moral dilemmas based on heroic true events. I liked it.” Decider, meanwhile, praises Narvik as a “perfectly serviceable wartime drama, nothing more, nothing less.”
JUNG_E: #2 on Netflix
Like Narvik, meanwhile, another international title currently dominating the Netflix Top 10 movies list for the US is the Korean sci-fi thriller JUNG_E.
From the director of Train to Busan, this is a genre film about the use of AI-based soldiers to fight battles in the future, and it should appeal to fans of similar titles like Elysium and Alita: Battle Angel.
The story is set in the far future, with humans having fled an Earth devasted by climate change. Humankind seeks out refuge in outer space-based shelters, where a war breaks out. From Netflix’s synopsis:
“The civil war that occurs there continues on for decades, and Yun Jung-yi (Kim Hyun-joo) becomes a legendary mercenary and military strategist with countless victories to her name. But one failed mission puts her in a vegetative state. Kronoid, a military A.I. development company, attempts to create the ultimate combat warrior by cloning her brain.”