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Sometimes you find a gem: Netflix Suggestion Engine can be Maddening

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Finding ‘The Professor and the Madman’ was an exception to the often frustrating process

Click to see ” Professor and the Madman” Also available on Amazon.

How many times have you searched or browsed the various suggestions prepared for you by the Netflix algorithm, only to get lost in confusion? Perhaps it’s a little like a self-driving car or a spell-checker, when it works you feel magically guided to your destination (or spelling) but when it doesn’t work, you are likely in trouble. 

Choosing the newest or the most watched is no fool-proof either. Often, when a better movie rises organically to the Netflix top ten, it’s an older film that people discovered all at once, for some reason, rather than a new release or “original” production. 

Such was the case when, after I made a series of unwatchable depressing choices, and then stumbled on “The Professor and the Madman”.

In this time of mandatory streaming, big screen production values are more important than ever

Based on a loved book of the same name, originally published as “The Surgeon of Crowthorne: A Tale of Murder, Madness and the Love of Words” by British writer Simon Winchester, first published in England in 1998. For the USA and Canada the title was changed to “The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary

Unlike many featured Netflix titles which come across as budget-conscious direct to streaming productions the fist thing noticeable in the opening sequence is that this is a “real movie” with a serious cinematic presentation. It only gets better from there. 

Above: Photo / Netflix

Starring Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Marsan, Jennifer Ehle, Jeremy Irvine, David O’Hara, Ioan Gruffudd, Stephen Dillane, Laurence Fox, and Steve Coogan, there’s a rare combination of megastar acting talent in a setting that is both age appropriate (the lead characters are both late in life as the drama unfolds) and produced with absolutely impeccable and ensemble acting.

Read more: Netflix excites with 71 Movies to be released during 2021

Unlike so many films that appear to have a concept that was half based on a calculation in the production budget – for example “An Imperfect Murder” and “The Midnight Sky” which seem to reduce the number of characters and screen time as a way to produce something with a higher change of recouping costs and producing profit, rather than any artistic or aesthetic inspiration, “The Professor and the Madman” is a full cinematic experience that translates to any screen. 


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