In 2022, 449 movies were released in the U.S. and Canada, according to Statista. Pre-COVID, there were 792 released in 2019. With such a high output, there are bound to be movies that slip through the cracks for many reasons, from poor marketing and mixed reviews to crowded release dates and confusing distribution methods.
However, streaming services, including Max, have given many films a new life with a bigger audience and better promotion. If you’re looking for a hidden gem, then watch these three underrated movies on Max.
Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) is a quiet, lonely man who works at a Brooklyn bar owned by his uncle, Marvin Stipler (James Gandolfini). The bar is a drop site for the Chechen mafia. Outside of work, Bob rescues an abused pitbull and nurses it back to health with help from Nadia (Noomi Rapace), a local woman. One night, the bar is robbed by two masked gunmen, leading NYPD Detective Torres (John Ortiz) to question Bob and work the case.
The film builds toward an even bigger drop on Super Bowl Sunday, forcing Bob to choose between keeping the mob happy and protecting Nadia. Based on the short story Animal Rescue by Dennis Lehane, The Drop is a gritty crime thriller that features a terrific performance from Hardy, who excels in a quieter, stoic role. The Drop also marks the final film role for Gandolfini, who tragically died in 2013.
Stream The Drop on Max.
A24 is a studio known for its elite taste in smaller, independent films. Lady Bird, Moonlight, Uncut Gems, Room, and Everything Everywhere All at Once all stem from A24. However, one of the studio’s lesser-known films that deserves the same respect as those films is A Prayer Before Dawn, based on Billy Moore’s autobiography A Prayer Before Dawn: My Nightmare in Thailand’s Prisons. Joe Cole stars as Moore, a British boxer sentenced to one of Thailand’s most ruthless prisons after being arrested for possession of a firearm and stolen goods.
While in prison, Billy witnesses murder, rape, and corruption while trying to beat his heroin addiction. A Prayer Before Dawn is a harrowing film about the horrors of prison, but also contains a redemption story for Moore, who attempts to fight his way to a better life in Muay Thai tournaments.
Stream A Player Before Dawn on Max.
Keanu Reeves is an action icon thanks to roles in Speed, John Wick, The Matrix, and the original Point Break. Reeves has predominantly been the hero for over 30 years, so it’s jarring to see him play a morally conflicted character in Eli Roth’s Knock Knock. Reeves plays Evan Webber, a married architect left to watch the house alone on Father’s Day weekend with his wife and children out of town. One stormy night, two women — Bel (Ana de Armas) and Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) — knock on Evan’s door, asking for a party. Evan allows them into the house, allowing them to dry off while waiting for an Uber.
However, the two women successfully seduce Evan and they have a threesome. The next morning, the women reveal their sinister side, threatening to ruin Evan’s life. Knock Knock takes a different approach to the home invasion thriller, offering a satirical take that’s mostly met with successful results thanks to interesting performances from Reeves, de Armas, and Izzo.
Stream Knock Knock on Max.