The best movies on Prime Video
When Prime Video first launched, it was tough to recommend as a viable replacement for Netflix’s TV shows or Stan’s movie dominance. Fast-forward to today, though, and with a quality selection of award-winning TV shows and, as you’ll see below, a solid selection of movies, Prime Video has grown into a worthy competitor for the big two names in streaming.
Have a gander at the 10 best Prime Video movies you can stream right now in Australia.
Only binge the best with our guides
The best drama on Prime Video
Shia LaBeouf has had a bit of a reputation for being eccentric in recent years. The fact he ended up in rehab might explain some of that eccentricity, but Honey Boy is a semi-autobiographical dramatisation that digs a lot deeper into helping explain why LaBeouf is the way he is. Not only did LaBeouf write and direct Honey Boy, he also plays the role based on his real-life father.
Honey Boy is one of those rare movies where critical reception and audience taste align, in a tale that drifts between humorous and heartbreaking. The story may jump around in time, but it’s held together and grounded by a cast that’s top-to-bottom talented from young Noah Jupe who plays LaBeouf’s fictionalised child self through to LaBeouf’s intense portrayal of his coat-tail-riding father.
Adam Driver is the new household name whose role choices demand attention because his on-screen presence shows that, even when he’s in a divisive movie like The Last Jedi, his performances are always engrossing. The Report is an important movie in today’s global climate, which tells the real-world events of a decade-spanning investigation into the CIA’s use of torture to garner intelligence from suspected terrorists.
While far from escapist subject matter, it’s not altogether surprising that writer/director Scott Z. Burns is tackling this topic given his portfolio of political thrillers. The chewy content is brought to life by Driver and a top-tier cast, including Annette Bening, Michael C. Hall, and Jon Hamm. You definitely don’t need to see The Report more than once, but even that single viewing will stick with you.
One Child Nation
The best documentary on Prime Video
China’s policy of only allowing couples to have one child came to an end in 2015, but One Child Nation is a documentary that digs deep into the history and impact of this generations-impacting decision. This is not surprising given the reality that the policy was in place for the better part of 40 years and is estimated to have prevented hundreds of millions of births.
One Child Nation explores the people and the consequences of this strict policy, in a story that unravels the extreme social experiment and how it was enforced. Far from a detached documentarian view, acclaimed director Nanfu Wang brings a lived experience to a story that is as personal as it is profound.
Brittany Runs a Marathon
The best comedy on Prime Video
Jillian Bell is a scene-stealing comedian who scores big-belly laughs in the likes of 22 Jump Street, Rough Night, and Workaholics. Clearly, she really should get her own movie. Brittany Runs a Marathon rights this wrong, with Bell in a titular role that succinctly sums up the plot.
Poor Brittany has a tendency lean into partying, unhealthy relationships, and not being fully employed. She’s in a rut, and she’s determined to overcorrect in her steps to improve her life by training towards running, jogging, and ambling a whole lot of steps in the none-too-easy New York City Marathon. Genuinely funny actors who usually play background roles have their comedic talents on full show in a fun flick that manages to pack plenty of humour and heart into an entertaining tale.
At times heartbreaking, at others uplifting, Beautiful Boy is based on the intertwining memoirs of a drug addict and his father. This background sets the foundation for a powerful family drama that respects both addict and those closest to him, as Nic Sheff (Timothée Chalamet) wrestles with his addiction, subsequent relapses, and his recovery.
Steve Carrell flexes his dramatic chops once again, this time as Nic’s father who struggles with the ripple effects of navigating the best way to support his drug-addled son. Chalamet and Carrell are the heart of the movie and carry it through the ups and (many) downs. Just like how a family member’s drug addiction affects more than just the drug user, Beautiful Boy is crafted in such a way to be deeply affecting to an audience.
Another entry that’s based on a true story, Green Book tells the engrossing tale of an Italian-American bouncer-turned-driver (Viggo Mortensen) who takes on the job of driving African-American world-class pianist (Mahershala Ali) to the Deep South of America in 1962. The setup is familiar: two unlikely people forced to interact over an extended period of time and find common ground.
What sets Green Book apart is the expert acting chops of always-reliable Mortensen and Academy Award-winning Ali. Their characters may come from different walks of life, but the talented and charismatic actors embody them with such charm, humanity, and three-dimensionality that you’ll be along for the ride of this road trip to growth, discovery, and friendship.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
The best animated movie on Prime Video
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse goes a long way to cementing the modern-day Pixar-created reality that animated movies are no longer just for kids. Sure, you can still happily watch Into the Spider-Verse with young’uns, but this is a story that’s built for viewers of all ages. You don’t even have to love Spider-Man to buy into the far-fetched fun and deep heart of Into the Spider-Verse.
This is one of those flicks that’s best paired with an Nvidia Shield TV Pro and a 4K TV because this is one of the best-looking movies going around. Couple the immersive presentation with a genuinely engaging story about a new Spider-Man on the block (Miles Morales) and a dimensionally swinging story that actually makes sense, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is essential viewing.
The best thriller on Prime Video
Writer/director Christopher Nolan has gone on to be a household name for brain-bending, big-budget blockbusters like The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar. Memento is the first movie that put Nolan on the must-watch list, and while it doesn’t have big-budget spectacle, it’s absolutely a mind-busting thriller that’s crafted to reward multiple viewings.
Leonard (Guy Pearce) is hunting for his wife’s murderer, which is a story seen hundreds (if not thousands) of times before, but the big difference here is that Leonard can’t form short-term memories. On the surface, this make his sleuthing more difficult, especially when it comes to knowing who to trust out of a cast of potentially manipulative characters. But Nolan has cleverly structured the movie to play chronologically backwards in its scene progression, effectively immersing the audience in Leonard’s point of view.
Black Hawk Down
Hot off the success of Gladiator, famed director Ridley Scott jumped into two projects: one was a so-so sequel to the legendary The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal), and the other was a harrowing adaptation of journalist-turned-novelist Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down non-fiction book. This quality-vs-questionable dichotomy would mar Scott’s career for years afterwards, but Black Hawk Down ultimately proved to be his last big-budget hit for a while.
The movie assembles an ensemble cast of top-of-their-game actors with up-and-coming household names (including Tom Hardy and Orlando Bloom) in a war drama that pulls no punches and packs a powerful punch when it comes to its exploration of a tragic global state of affairs alongside the personal triumphs and tragedies of the core characters. Blast the volume on this one: the Oscar-winning sound is best experienced on a killer home theatre system, and Hans Zimmer’s iconic soundtrack underlines the incredible soundscape.
I want you to watch this as fast you can. Okay, so that’s a bastardised quote from David Fincher’s Fight Club, but it’s as relevant today as it was when this flick hits cinemas in late 1999. Fight Club was the perfect full stop to the 20th century, but its deconstruction of masculinity in the modern world and our consumer-addicted society is still just as relevant today.
If you’re not particularly interested in the movies philosophising, there’s still a whole lot more to appreciate. From The Dust Brothers’ killer soundtrack from to the dark comedy and intensely quotable dialogue, repeat viewings of Fight Club may not have the same jaw-dropping twist revelation as the first time you watched it, but there’s always something new to appreciate in this timeless tale.