The best 20 films on Amazon Prime right now
(Credit: Embassy International Pictures)

From Martin Scorsese to Noah Baumbach: The best 20 films on Amazon Prime right now

Where Netflix may dominate original programming, in terms of scale and quality, Amazon champions contemporary and classic film.

With a catalogue of films that covers several genres, from masters of cinema including Terry Gilliam, Federico Fellini, Jan Svankmajer, The Coen Brothers, Noah Baumbach, Martin Scorcese, David Fincher and many more.

In these quarantined times of social isolation, Far Out continues to strive to provide you with the best possible content out there right now.

The following 20 films are available to watch on Amazon Prime UK right now, what are you waiting for…

24 Hour Party People (2002)

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Michael Winterbottom’s tale of Tony Wilson’s ‘Factory Records’ in late 1970s Manchester is as vibrant and as bafflingly offbeat as the historic record label itself.

Steve Coogan stars as a faux Alan Partridge, to adopt the role of Tony Wilson, alongside a host of English comedy talent, in this thoroughly enjoyable comedy-music escapade. 

8½ (1963)

Director: Federico Fellini

Fantasy, reality and the dreamworld entwine in Federico Fellini’s masterpiece , a journey through the rabbit hole and into the puzzled consciousness of a filmmaker in a personal crisis.

This is an intimate, and constantly dynamic film about film-making and creative crisis from one of the very best.

American Animals (2018)

Director: Bart Layton

Continuing his docu-drama genre mingling from his 2012 success The Imposter, American Animals follows four young men who make an audacious, impulsive attempt at stealing several priceless books from Transylvania University.

Documenting the true-story alongside, dramatised reconstructions of the event creates for a gripping, disturbing yet often hilarious depiction of the psyche’s that are capable of doing such a crime. 

The Big Sick (2017)

Director: Michael Showalter

Proof of Amazon’s proficiency in their independent filmmaking department, The Big Sick is a genuinely charming romantic comedy, which is no common feat.

Co-written by the lead actor Kumail Nanjiani, the film is loosely based on his own personal experience with his wife (and co-writer), as they battle cultural differences and family expectations, to stay together.  

Brazil (1985)

Director: Terry Gilliam 

Terry Gilliam’s surreal Orwellian fantasy, Brazil, is a psychedelic vision into a retro near-future, where a bureaucrat breaks monotonous everyday life, and unknowingly becomes an enemy-of-the-state.

Gilliam’s visionary, offbeat world is intoxicating, dragging you through twisted back alleys with chaotic hyperactivity, it’s a joyous ride. 

Carol (2015)

Director: Todd Haynes

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s romance novel ‘The Price of Salt’, Carol follows the love affair of two unexpected women, in 1950’s New York.

A time period perfectly bottled by director Todd Haynes, Carol is a passionate and compelling tale of desire, fuelled by a delicate script which shows, and doesn’t tell. 

High hopes (1988)

Director: Mike Leigh

For whatever reason, Mike Leigh is tricky to pin down on streaming sites with many of his best works restricted to DVD.

His 1988 film High Hopes demonstrates him at his very best, poking and examining the flavours and flaws of everyday British lives with usual wit and deft observation.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Director(s): The Coen Brothers 

Arguably the Coen Brothers’ best film since their 2007 masterpiece No Country for old men, Inside Lleywn Davis is the moving tale of a folk singer, battling his personal life and the music industry itself in 1960s New York.

Oscar Isaac helps to form the melancholy character of the utterly charming, Lleywn Davis, performing many of the songs himself, contributing to a terrifically orchestrated soundtrack and a totally enthralling film.

The King of Comedy (1982)

Director – Martin Scorsese

Robert DeNiro stars in this once undervalued comedy-drama, which has since found resurrection in its resemblance to 2019’s Joker.

From cinematic master Martin Scorcese, however, this is a far more nuanced picture, following the life of amateur comedian Rupert Pupkin, and his efforts to find fame, no matter the consequences. 

L.A. Confidential (1997)

Director: Curtis Hanson 

The last great neo-noir classic, L.A. Confidential is the cover model of the sub-genre, a smart and seductive thriller paced perfectly across the glowing city of L.A.

Headed up by Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Spacey as the lead trio of unstable policeman, we are led through a murder investigation of lies, deceit and corruption. 

Little Otik (2001)

Director: Jan Svankmajer

Little Otik is a dark, and comically disturbing film, though anyone already aware of Jan Svankmajer should have this preconception.

Pioneer of stop-motion cinema, specifically the surreal kind, Svankmajer’s film follows the tale of a young couple who cannot have children, and so instead whittle and varnish a tree branch to resemble a baby. Viciously creative and extraordinarily fun this is one of Svankmajer’s finest feature films.

The Long Day Closes (1992)

Director: Terrence Davies 

Terrence Davie’s semi-autobiographical drama concerning his young life navigates through his web of childhood memories like an echo drifting through an ethereal past and present.

Set in 1950s Liverpool, this is a personal, melancholic commemoration of a childhood long gone but vividly remembered. 

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Director: Kenneth Lonergan

Capturing time, place and character is the essence of cinema in its simplest form, with Manchester by the Sea being a truly exemplary example.

Casey Affleck leads the film as a lost, adrift uncle, who finds himself responsible for his teenage nephew after the death of the boy’s father. Impeccably written, this is a heartbreaking story of palpable emotion, following characters burdened by loss and guilt. 

Mary and Max (2009)

Director: Adam Elliot

Adam Elliot draws from the darkly surreal nature of Kaufman, and the poignant honesty of Woody Allen, in his glorious feature debut, Mary and Max, charting the conversations of unlikely pen pals, Mary (8) and Max (44).

Crafted in murky grey claymation, the cities and inhabiting individuals are crudely illustrated but lovingly written, oozing with charm and dry wit.  

Next Goal Wins (2014)

Director: Mike Brett, Steve Jamison

If the lack of sport is leaving a football-sized hole in your heart, Next Goal Wins is sure to fill it, documenting the resurgence of the American Samoa national team after their record-breaking 31-0 loss to Australia.

A truly inspiring story of hope and passion amid the teams’ darkest time, Next Goal Wins is a reminder of the essence of football itself, the love of the game.

Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Director: Malik Bendjelloul

An investigative documentary like no other, Searching for Sugarman chronicles the search for the mysterious musical icon, Rodriguez, led by two South African fans.

Shining a light on a dark corner of the music industry which would otherwise remain untouched, Malik Bendjelloul uncovers a musical treasure.   

The Squid and the Whale (2005)

Director: Noah Baumbach

Divorce, from the perspective of two young boys in Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, becomes a subtle, observational exercise, examining the traits our parents wish to transfer their children, as well as those that are passed down hereditarily.

Terrific performances complete this small, domestic drama, energised particularly by Jeff Daniels’ provoking portrayal of an exasperated father.

Toni Erdmann (2016)

Director: Maren Ade

Bringing surrealist comedy into contemporary domestic drama, Toni Erdman is an idiosyncratic piece of cinema, radiating the bone-dry, German sense of humour.

This story is helmed by a practical joking father, who adopts a bizarre alter-ego in attempts to reconnect with his steely, determined daughter. What follows is a surprisingly profound, character exploration, using close to three hours to explore familial relationships with frequent prongs of tragic humour. 

Under the Skin (2013)

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Together with Mica Levi’s transporting score, Jonathan Glazer’s landmark film Under the Skin is a modern science fiction masterpiece exploring the human oddity from the experience of a seductive alien outsider.

Scarlett Johansen plays the Alien in question, stalking the lonely Glasgow streets on her own hypnotising journey of discovery. This is imperative viewing. 

Zodiac (2007)

Director: David Fincher 

Based on the case of the real-life serial killer, David Fincher’s Zodiac takes a methodical, yet consistently thrilling view of the 1970s murder case.

Subtle in its delivery, Fincher creates a perfectly realised cauldron of dread and anxiety in his depiction of early 70’s San Francisco, creating a moody pressure cooker of meticulous storytelling.

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