It’s easy to forget that Amazon does more than simply offer free shipping and quality TV shows to its Prime members. The streaming platform also turns out quality content in the film department pretty regularly. Sometimes, their movies may hit theaters first or gain a couple of Oscar nods come awards season, both valid reasons for thinking their flicks, films like Manchester By The Sea, The Big Sick, and The Handmaiden are the work of some blockbuster studio, not the streaming service you have access to at home. Well, we’re going to correct that misconception with this list of the best original Amazon Studios films out there right now. Get to streaming.
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Run Time: 89 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Joaquin Phoenix stars as a troubled hitman with a dark past in this thrilling crime flick from Lynne Ramsay. Phoenix plays Joe, a gun for hire, former military man and FBI agent, who spends most of his time rescuing victims of sex trafficking. He’s recruited to save a Senator’s daughter from a brothel that caters to high-end clientele, but the job thrusts him into the center of a conspiracy that costs him everything and ends in blood and tragedy. It’s a relentless slog to be sure, but it works because Ramsay is more interested in profiling the man, not the hits he makes.
The Handmaiden (2016)
Run Time: 144 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Based on a historical crime novel set in Victoria-Era England, Park Chan-wook’s lavish, mesmerizing thriller focuses on two young women fighting to escape oppression by the men in their lives. Chan-woo has traded the stuffy British countryside for Japanese-occupied Korea, telling the stories of Lady Hideko and her handmaiden, Sook-hee, in three parts, weaving a tale of passion, betrayal, dark secrets, and revenge with grander themes of imperialism, colonial rule, and patriarchal corruption. The two women are the draw of the film with both resorting to illicit, illegal, morally compromising schemes in order to gain their freedom, but love is an unintended consequence that leaves the third act — one you might think you have figured out halfway through the film — completely unpredictable.
The Lost City of Z (2016)
Run Time: 141 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson star in adventurous retelling of the true-life drama of Col. Percival Fawcett. Fawcett (Hunnam) was a British explorer who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s. This adaptation of David Grann’s popular book is the slowest of burns and takes liberties with Fawcett’s tale if only because no one really knows what happened to the man and his son when they went missing in the jungle, but stick around for some fantastic cinematography and a few thrilling action sequences — along with the sense of mystery that comes with a look at old-world exploration expeditions.