10 best Netflix trailers of 2020

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No. 2: Da 5 Bloods

Spike Lee’s film Da 5 Bloods looks really good. He’s the only director that could give the right balance of justice, audacity, and grace to a story about African-American Vietnam War veterans returning to the site of their battles to dig up gold they buried along with their deceased colleague (played by Chadwick Boseman in one of his final screen roles).

There are numerous reasons this trailer succeeds, namely in terms of cast, production design, aspect ratio shifts, and intriguing plot framing devices. But the kicker for me is the trailer’s reliance on setting depiction.

Lee devotes as much time to his characters’ actions and lines as he does to displaying moments and locations from the 1970s, set against the exclamatory lyrics and notes of the Chambers Brothers song “Time Has Come Today.”

It pushes against a lot of what I imagine Netflix sets out to accomplish in their normal trailers, and all the better: the trailer, like the film, demands your attention, challenging you and visibly making you uncomfortable. You can feel Lee’s ambitions push higher and higher as you watch this trailer, and Netflix viewers, especially in 2020, are all the better for it.

No. 1: i’m thinking of ending things

Maybe it comes with the territory because it’s a Charlie Kaufman movie, but the i’m thinking of ending things trailer asks so many questions. And in a trailer landscape that sells viewers on answers regarding genre, iconography, and archetype, isn’t posing questions what trailers are meant to do?

By reveling in the unknown, the weird, the downright creepy, and the quintessentially singular, this trailer takes the cake—it’s impossible for us to think of a better one to name as our No. 1.

From the get-go, it strikes the viewer with an innumerable amount of loose threads. Why does the young woman’s outfit keep changing? What’s up with Jake’s parents and his dog? Is the young woman thinking of ending things between her and Jake, or, like…ending things entirely?

Without any distinct or clear solutions, this trailer guarantees your butt on the couch in an attempt to figure it all out. And therein lies the best part—while watching the movie, you probably still won’t.

To support the astounding visuals, the trailer features the swoony score of Jay Wadley (something I am still waiting for, with bated breath, to drop on Spotify), brief frames of 2D animation(!), and glimpses of wondrous, impressionistic production design, as well as the abilities of a cast who have never been bad in anything in which they’ve appeared.

And the movie is just as good—it defies genre, wearing its oscillatory essence on its sleeve throughout. Its twists and turns bear repeat viewings and, more importantly, key into our depreciating lives even more than the trailer lets on.

As Jessie Buckley’s young woman succinctly says, “there’s just something profoundly wrong here.” What a 2020 thesis if there ever was just one.

What was your favorite Netflix trailers of 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Next. 21 best Netflix shows of 2020 (so far). dark