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4 Great Smartphone Films to Stream Right Now

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Be inspired: 4 Great Smartphone Films to Stream Right Now. Pocket Stories. Prime Video logo, Netflix logo, YouTube logo.

Smartphone cameras are so good that many directors are making full-length movies with them. I know! Who would have thought? As well as being high-quality, phone-made films can also offer unique opportunities for storytelling and striking visuals that make them that much more impactful to watch. I've reviewed 4 of these films that I'm hoping will inspire you to use the phone in your pocket to chase your own dreams of getting on the (little) big screen! Enjoy.

High Flying Bird (2019)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Runtime: 1 hour, 30 mins

Available on Netflix

With engaging characters and dialogue and intriguing storytelling, there’s a lot to love about Soderbergh’s sports-drama movie, High Flying Bird. Spanning 3 days in New York City, the film follows the events of an NBA lockout, loosely based on similar events from 2011. Our hero, Ray Burke, attempts to unravel this deadlock and put an end to it while navigating tricky industry politics and a cast of side characters who are unhelpful and counterproductive to Ray’s plight.

While the plot premise may go over some people's heads if they're not clued up on NBA basketball, the characters and their motivations are familiar and relatable to all. Add in some Big Brother hidden camera style shots and some classic reality TV-eque confessionals and you've got something that'll entertain the average viewer like you or me.

Tangerine (2015)

Director: Sean Baker

Runtime: 1 hour, 28 mins

Tangerine is a raunchy, trashy, outrageous comedy-drama written by renowned director, Sean Baker (The Florida Project). It’s truly bouncy, brilliant, and bold in the best of ways.

This film's debauchery and drama all takes place on Christmas Eve and makes the entire affair that much more ridiculous. Tangerine's characters are the highlight of this film and do it a huge service. They navigate and are often guilty of getting themselves into situations ranging from downright hilarious to bizarre to heart-warming.

Filmed on several iPhone 5Ss, Tangerine tells a thoroughly enjoyable and unique story with likeable characters and a dazzling, contemporary soundtrack. It’ll make your jaw drop and your eyes light up as the whole thing unravels.

Mad House (2019)

Director: Ross Perkins

Runtime: 1 hour, 28 mins

Available on Amazon Prime Video

Mad House is a short, dark comedy, horror film by Australian director, Ross Perkins. It's voyeuristic, found footage style movie - akin to The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity - tells the story of a home invasion through the lens of an iPhone in the hands of the “antagonists”. As the story progresses and you develop sympathy for the hostages, you feel overwhelmingly like a helpless observer watching through a screen as the Mortimer family are humiliated, stripped of their dignity, and toyed with. It features a cast of fantastically flawed and colourful characters; profound, though at times, disturbing themes; brilliant acting that will send shivers down your spine; and an ever-evolving, interesting plot. It’s a must-watch that I highly recommend.

Please be aware the content contains scenes of a graphic and sensitive nature and is rated 18+ for a very good reason. Viewer discretion is advised.

I Feel I Have Lost Something (2021)

Director: Sigfrido Giammona

Runtime: 1 hour, 15 mins

Available on Amazon Prime Video

I Feel I Have Lost Something is an Italian dystopian drama directed by the very talented Sigfrido Giammona and it's by far my favourite on this list. Set in a world where adults became immortal, you’ll be captivated from the very first scene as this movie takes you on a journey exploring life, love, pain, and loss. This magic never dies and you’ll be constantly surprised and intrigued as the protagonist’s story develops. With some incredibly insightful commentary on what it means to be alive, you’ll learn that love and life go hand in hand. That death - for those unlucky enough to bear a broken heart for eternity - is preferable to life. While it focus is on the human psyche and interpersonal relationships, you'll find subtle nods to sci-fi staples like The Twilight Zone, The Matrix, and The Truman Show that you'll love.

It’s easy to forget this film was entirely shot on mobile because some of the cinematography could easily give most Hollywood films a run for their money. With philosophical musings, top tier acting, a bittersweet Shakespearean plot, and a beautiful soundtrack - you’ll wish this movie never ends!

Wrapping up my experience

I've been enchanted by every film on this list. There's a magic to mobile filmmaking that can't be replicated any other way. The directors' passions shine so brightly and it's clear they were more concerned with telling their stories than the kit they used to tell them.

These directors are proving that it doesn't matter what you film with: if you have a compelling narrative, you can create fireworks with as little as an old iPhone and a big dream! You could even impact people halfway across the world or share an important message that nobody else but you can. If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is. Happy watching.


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