Science fiction might not seem like a genre that would make a good fit with the low budgets and quiet atmospheres of independent filmmaking. But there are no aliens, robots, or lasers to be found here. Just a bunch of really sad teenagers who are actually clones created in order to provide organs for sick rich people. And you'll be really sad too after this emotional powerhouse of a movie.
Reason this might not be considered an indie movie: It stars Hollywood big-shot James Franco. Reason this probably is an indie movie: It stars ONLY James Franco, and for most of the film's running time he's pinned between two rocks and talking to himself. Director Danny Boyle brings the true story of Aron Ralston, who cut off his own arm in order to escape a lonely death, to the screen in an unforgettable way.
Another entry in the "guy trapped in a small dark space" subgenre, "Buried" is even more closed-off than "127 Hours." The whole movie takes place in the tiny, coffin-sized box that Ryan Reynolds is trapped in, and it manages to be one of the most suspenseful and intense thrillers to come out in quite a while. Even if you think you're too claustrophobic to watch, don't you want to know if he makes it out?
This drama about a young girl who gets targeted and victimized by a sexual predator through the internet (and in person) is as heavy and complex as dramas get. You do have some mid-level stars in the form of Clive Owen and Catherine Keener, but the movie's non-exploitative (but still thoroughly chilling) treatment of the subject is pure indie. If there is such a thing as "pure indie," which there isn't. Anyway, it's a good movie. See it, especially if you have kids.