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Netflix viewers are loving 'unsettling' new crime thriller based on true story

Daisy Phillipson

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Netflix viewers are loving 'unsettling' new crime thriller based on true story

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

Netflix viewers have been blown away by an 'unsettling' new crime thriller movie that's based on a true story.

The Stranger - not to be confused with the British thriller series of the same name - dropped on the streamer earlier this month.

Inspired by events that unfolded in Australia back in 2003, the film centres on a child abduction case.

Boy Erased's Joel Edgerton stars as an undercover police officer who is tasked with forming a friendship with the prime suspect (Sean Harris). You can watch the trailer below:

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Although names have been changed, the movie is a fictional retelling of the case of Brett Peter Cowan, a murderer and paedophile who was found guilty of killing Daniel Morcombe, a 13-year-old boy who went missing in Queensland in 2003.

Cowan wasn't brought to justice until 2014 following a lengthy police operation named Mr. Big, which saw officers pose as a fictitious crime organisation in order to gain the trust of suspects in cold cases and convince them to confess to earlier crimes.

The technique has been the subject of controversy over the years, not least as it could lead to false confessions from suspects who make claims in order to gain money or status.

But in the case of Cowan, who had two prior convictions of child sexual abuse, it worked and he was sentenced to life in prison in 2014 without the possibility of parole until 2031.

The murderer lost an appeal against his conviction back in 2015. Credit: Twitter/ABC News
The murderer lost an appeal against his conviction back in 2015. Credit: Twitter/ABC News

Due to the subject matter, it's no surprise The Stranger is a disturbing watch, but rather than exploiting the sinister nature of the case, it tells a poignant and compelling story.

As said by Wenlei Ma, TV and film critic for news.com.au: "There is a vast difference between exploitation and potent storytelling. The Stranger is the latter."

Despite dropping at Cannes Film Festival and receiving a favourable 93 percent Rotten Tomatoes score amongst the critics, the movie only recently dropped on US and UK Netflix, meaning many viewers are just now watching it for the first time.

And it's safe to say they're loving it so far, with one writing on Twitter: "Netflix's The Stranger is precisely how a crime-thriller film should be done.

"It's the most dark and unsettling movie of the year. It gives the viewer confusing details at the beginning and then it starts piecing them together in a very intriguing way. Sean Harris is marvellous."

Netflix viewers are describing The Stranger as one of the best true crime films they've ever seen. Credit: Netflix
Netflix viewers are describing The Stranger as one of the best true crime films they've ever seen. Credit: Netflix

Another said: "The Aussie Netflix movie The Stranger is probably the most unique true crime movie I’ve seen, and certainly is one of the best."

"Well, The Stranger is one of the finest films i’ve seen in some time," added a third. "Beautifully acted and moody and utterly compelling."

High praise indeed - so if you haven't had a chance to catch it yet and you're a fan of gritty thrillers, be sure to put The Stranger on your watchlist.

Topics: TV And Film, True Crime, Netflix

Daisy Phillipson
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