The best documentaries to watch right now

Amanda Knox

After Meredith Kercher’s murder in 2007, Amanda Knox was the main suspect in one of the most controversial criminal cases of recent history. Knox was convicted in 2007 and later acquitted in 2015. This documentary features Knox speaking openly about the experience. Interviews with Knox and other key players in the case tell the story without the interference of tabloid media that made “Foxy Knoxy” a tabloid media scourge.

Blackfish

Bafta-nominated documentary Blackfish exposes the cruelty and neglect that captive orcas suffer at Seaworld. It also exposes the lies that they tell the public about their animal welfare. Blackfish focuses on Tilikum’s case. She pulled a trainer under water and eventually killed her. It provides insight from both academics as well as ex-trainers, who misled us into believing that they were helping killer whales.

13th

Ava DuVernay’s Bafta-winning film 13th is one of the most talked-about documentaries of recent times. It reveals how inhuman America’s justice system does seem. DuVernay, who borrowed its title from the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution that abolished slavery in 1865, convincingly argued that slavery is still prevalent in America but is disguised and practiced as the systematic incarceration and detention of African-American men. This documentary is both a difficult and urgent piece of film-making. It is an indisputably important document that proves that DuVernay remains one of the most influential directors of her generation.

Quincy

Quincy Jones is a music legend who has won 28 Grammys. He also said some very controversial things during his career. Unfortunately, his daughters made this documentary to try to restrain him after two outrageous interviews were published in American and New York Magazine last year. This film is not recommended if you want to see more of those bizarre confessions. This film, however, does a lot to remind the audience of Jones’ genius, and the immense impact his songs had on the industry. It shows Quincy as a person who loves him most.

Remastered

Eight documentaries in one (sort of), Netflix’s ReMastered series digs deep into some of music’s greatest mysteries, focusing an investigative lens on the artists society has lost and loved. Each episode, which is one documentary per month, features a different director’s vision and tells the story of an artist. This includes Robert Johnson’s mythological deal with the devil, Sam Cooke’s murder, and Robert Johnson. You can already watch five episodes on the site while you wait for the next three. This makes it ideal for a midweek binge that’s not mindless.    

Trigger Warning with Killer Mike

Documentaries don’t have to make you feel confused or sad. The Netflix series Killer Mike, Run The Jewels rapper/activist, tackles the topic of race through challenges that include him living only in black-owned businesses and changing public perceptions about gangs. With episodes lasting just under half an hour, you will find yourself laughing, learning, and unable to put the series down.

Free Solo

Anyone afraid of heights will spend most of Solo in a high-anxiety state. Why? It follows Alex Honnold, who becomes the first person to scale the El Capitan rock at Yosemite National Park’s 3,000-foot height. This means that he will not be able to use safety companions, ropes, safety harnesses, or any other equipment to save him from certain death. This documentary demonstrates the incredible effort that went into making this documentary and features stunning National Geographic landscape cinematography. It may be hard to watch, but he survived.

Plain Sight Abducted

Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary features the Broberg family falling for the charms of Robert Berchtold (their next-door neighbor and friend), who kidnaps their daughter Jan twice, once when Jan was 12 and again at 14. The twisting story of how the family fell for the sociopathic neighbor, and the Brobergs’ struggles with deceit as well as crimes that could have been prevented, is told. It’s so shocking that it’s hard for us to believe it’s possible.

Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

This Netflix documentary, which was produced by Jerry Media and Matte Projects (who made promo videos for the festival), examines the shocking failure of Fyre Fest. Interviews with festival founder Billy McFarland, his associates, employees from the companies involved in the concert, festival attendees, and others are included. It’s so informative that you will probably still have questions after watching it. That’s because of how insane the whole thing is.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

This TCD dives deep into the archives to reveal the mind of Ted Bundy, serial killer. Joe Berlinger created and directed the four-part series. It features previously unheard audio from Bundy’s Florida death row interviews, as well as archive footage and interviews of those who were affected by his actions. This is a must-see before the release of Extremely Wicked Shockingly Evil, and Vile which stars ZacEfron.

Human Flow

Human flow captures the global refugee crisis. It is a stunning combination of activism and conceptual art directed by Ai Weiwei. This documentary features stunning shots of Syrian camps as well as spoken testimony. Popular TV Series about the suffering of over 65 million people forced to flee their homes around the globe. This inspiring documentary is a story about human displacement and distortion. It’s a 21st-century must-see.

All or Nothing

This documentary covers eight parts of Manchester City’s record-breaking 2017-18 Premier League season. The docuseries gives you an inside look at one of the most prestigious global sports clubs. It features never-before-seen footage from the dressing room with Pep Guardiola and dives into the lives of the players off the pitch.

The Staircase

Michael Peterson was charged with the murder of Kathleen Peterson in 2001. Kathleen was found dead at the foot of the stairs in her Durham, North Carolina home. Peterson claimed she fell down the stairs. Authorities believe that he beat her to death. This extraordinary series follows the building up to the trial and how it all plays out in the courtroom. This is an extraordinary documentary…

Whitney

Whitney, directed by Kevin Macdonald is a deep dive into Whitney Houston’s brief life. It was made possible with the help of her family. This documentary features never-before-seen footage, rare recordings, and interviews with Bobby Brown, her mother, brother, and ex-husband.