10 absurdist comedy films to watch on Netflix
(Credit: Netflix)


10 absurdist comedy films to watch on Netflix

In the land of all things funny, not every comedy is made equal. Some cater to our cringe sensibilities, while others go dark and twisty. Then we have the absurdist fare, where there is reliance on unpredictable juxtapositions, violation of causality, and frequent use of non-sequiturs. Luis Bunuel’s surrealist The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie may be a hallmark of the genre, but the Netflix library is currently home to ten more that should be on your must-watch lists.

Absurdist comedies, with their audacious penchant for the illogical and the nonsensical, occupy a hallowed place within the realm of cinematic amusement. Some have a particular preference for watching these in an altered state of mind.

They revel in defying the conventions of traditional narrative structures, gleefully snubbing their noses at our expectations wherever possible. In this carnival of irrationality, their allure lies, beckoning us to surrender our mundane existence and embark on a whimsical journey where every assumption is unceremoniously upended. 

These ten films, presented in this article in no particular order, deftly explore existential quandaries, cast scathing glances at societal norms, and lay bare the preposterousness of human existence. Their audacious defiance of cinematic and comedic norms gives us a glimpse at the world through a kaleidoscope of unconventional perspectives.

So without further ado, bookmark these ten films on Netflix for your viewing pleasure!

10 absurdist comedy films to watch on Netflix

Hunt for The Wilderpeople (2016)

Directed by Taika Waititi, this New Zealand adventure comedy-drama has a gentle absurdist quality. It follows a young boy named Ricky Baker and his foster uncle Hec, played by Julian Dennison and Sam Neill, respectively, as they embark on an epic misadventure in the New Zealand wilderness.

With its quirky characters and unexpected humour, Hunt for The Wilderpeople offers a delightful and heartfelt experience.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick with a screenplay co-written by Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George, this black comedy satirises the Cold War fears of nuclear conflict.

It is loosely based on the thriller novel Red Alert by George. Starring Peter Sellers in multiple roles, including the titular Dr. Strangelove, the film takes an absurd and darkly humorous look at the possibility of global annihilation.

Super Deluxe (2019)

Directed by Thiagarajan Kumararaja, Super Deluxe is an Indian anthology film that weaves together multiple interconnected stories. With its unconventional narrative structure, supernatural and sci-fi twists, and dark humour, the film offers a unique cinematic experience that no cinephile should miss out on.

The film features stellar performances by its cast, which include Vijay Sethupathi, Fahadh Faasil, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Ramya Krishnan.

Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (2018)

Vasan Bala’s action-comedy film tells the story of a young man named Surya, who is born with a rare condition that prevents him from feeling pain.

Starring Abhimanyu Dassani, Radhika Madan, and Gulshan Devaiah, the film is an earnest homage to the action greats Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota (The Man Who Feels No Pain) is also loaded with meta humour—from Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 cult Pulp Fiction to Tinnu Anand’s 1988 flick Shahenshah.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, The Big Lebowski stars Jeff Bridges as The Dude, a laid-back and eccentric slacker who gets caught up in a case of mistaken identity.

With its offbeat characters, even odder situations, and quotable dialogue, this cult classic has become a staple of the absurdist comedy genre.

The Lobster (2015)

Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster presents a dystopian world where single people are given 45 days to find a romantic partner or be turned into an animal of their choice.

With its deadpan humour and scathing take on society’s obsession with romantic partnerships, the film explores themes of love, sex, and relationships in preposterous but risible ways.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, this British satire is a comedic retelling of the Arthurian legend. With its exaggerated humour, memorable characters, and iconic scenes, Monty Python and the Holy Grail has become a defining work of the absurdist comedy genre.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a Western anthology film consisting of six distinct stories. Each presents its strange and darkly comic take on the Old West, showcasing the Coen brothers’ signature blend of humour and existential themes.

Set on the American Frontier, the anthologies boast a phenomenal ensemble with Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Bill Heck, Grainger Hines, Zoe Kazan, Harry Melling, Liam Neeson, Jonjo O’Neill, Chelcie Ross, Saul Rubinek, and Tom Waits.

Under the Silver Lake (2018)

Directed by David Robert Mitchell, Under the Silver Lake, distributed by A24, is a neo-noir mystery film with an indie vibe but an enigmatic atmosphere. Starring Andrew Garfield as a disenchanted man who becomes obsessed with the mysterious disappearance of his neighbour (played by Riley Keough).

The film may have received mixed reviews, but Garfield’s performance and the surrealistic exploration of modern-day Los Angeles make this a rare gem.

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (2022)

Directed by Eric Appel, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is a mockumentary that follows the fictionalised life of “Weird Al” Yankovic, played by Daniel Radcliffe. If you thought that the biopic on Yankovic would miss out on the opportunity to be a satirical take on biopics, then, of course, you were wrong!

The film pays homage to Yankovic’s musical career nonetheless. It makes for another lovely addition to Radcliffe’s filmography and his ongoing pursuit of making films that tell incredibly delectable stories, even though they may not have any mass appeal.