14 Best Amazon Prime Foreign Original Movies to Watch

Staff & contributors

As an adaptation of a story written to commemorate the Louvre’s comics-focused exhibit, Rohan at the Louvre expands the short story into a riveting, nearly two-hour supernatural mystery film that contemplates Japanese art in context with the world. The original story is a spin-off of the popular manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, so this film adaptation may shock fans expecting the same plot points and the vibrant, colorful style of the manga. However, the shadow-heavy cinematography, alongside Issey Takahashi’s performance, casts the eeriness needed to make this story work on film. It’s a change that fits a story all about art as a depiction of pain and desire, severing the self from the past, and escapism through stories.

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Mystery

Actor: Fumino Kimura, Issey Takahashi, Katia Tchenko, Kayoko Shiraishi, Kei Kagaya, Kento Nagao, Kou Maehara, Léa Bonneau, Makoto Nakamura, Marie Iitoyo, Masanobu Ando, Minami, Robin Barde, Ryo Ikeda, Ryosuke Otani, Tomoya Masuda

Director: Kazutaka Watanabe

With Marvel and DC monopolizing the superhero landscape with high budgets, big-name actors, and CGI graphics, Shin Kamen Rider feels like a breath of fresh air. Also known as Shin Masked Rider in other territories, the adaptation recalls the campy costumes and over-the-top action of the original 70s tokusatsu series. It’s fun, if a little bit silly, and slightly unhinged, albeit with a more modern polish. The bizarre action sequences tend to be paired with old 70s rock, blood oversplashing, motorcycle stunts, and exaggerated expressions, especially from the villains. It’s a fitting love letter for the series’ 50th anniversary.

Genre: Action, Drama, Science Fiction

Actor: Kanata Hongo, Ken Yasuda, Masami Nagasawa, Mikako Ichikawa, Minami Hamabe, Mirai Moriyama, Moriyama Mirai, Nanase Nishino, Nao Ōmori, Shinya Tsukamoto, Shuhei Uesugi, Sosuke Ikematsu, Suzuki Matsuo, Takumi Saitoh, Tasuku Emoto, Tori Matsuzaka, Toru Nakamura, Toru Tezuka, Yutaka Takenouchi

Director: Hideaki Anno

Rating: NR

There's a cruelty to In My Mother's Skin that may seem off-putting at first, but one must reckon with the sheer scale of the violence already occurring before these characters are even introduced to us. The Japanese occupation of the Philippines was a particularly vicious period in the country's history; if Filipinos weren't fighting or hiding from their invaders, many of them were trying to maintain a precariously submissive, neutral existence, or they were being turned against each other due to the conflict of war trickling down between the social classes. All these things are implicit throughout Kenneth Dagatan's film, which doesn't try to reenact World War II but capture the total absence of hope during this period.

Dagatan's style of horror insists on a very slow pace, emphasizing every footstep leading to a horrifying reveal, and not just the main scare itself. This choice doesn't always work, especially as certain beats begin to repeat themselves, but the film's incredibly confident visual style fills every moment with an eerie paranoia. Gothic, shadowy interiors, nasty gore, and one opulently costumed fairy make everything perpetually unsettling—gradually forcing us to accept that these contradictions are just the reality of life under war.

Genre: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, War

Actor: Angeli Bayani, Arnold Reyes, Beauty Gonzalez, Brian Sy, Felicity Kyle Napuli, James Mavie Estrella, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Ronnie Lazaro

Director: Kenneth Lim Dagatan

As biopics go, Cassandro skews towards the conventional. It follows a template familiar to anyone who has seen a life-story movie about the underdog climbing up the ranks thanks to their unmatchable heart and talent. But it’s also a template that’s elevated by Bernal’s wonderful performance and Roger Ross Williams’ careful and naturalistic direction. Save for a few melodramatic moments, many parts of Cassandro feel fresh and authentic, not least of which is Saúl's heartwarming relationship with his mother Yocasta (Perla De La Rosa). It’s unapologetic joy is another element that sets it apart: instead of being punished for his flamboyance and cheer, Saúl is rewarded for it. This seems like a rare triumph in LGBTQ+ stories, and on that merit alone Cassandro deserves to be seen. 

Genre: Drama

Actor: Bad Bunny, El Hijo del Santo, Gael García Bernal, Joaquín Cosío, Julieta Ortiz, Leonardo Alonso, Mark Vasconcellos, Perla de la Rosa, Raúl Castillo, Roberta Colindrez

Director: Roger Ross Williams

Rating: R

Based on four different books by Colombian author Mario Mendoza, The Initiated (or Los Iniciados) is perhaps too much of a good thing at times, as it struggles to have its many different pieces cohere into one thematic idea. These separate pieces are intriguing on their own, for sure: poisoned water supply, underground activists, the mayor potentially being involved in mysterious disappearances of bodies. But by the end, the film's noir elements seem to be mostly ornamental in nature, with the supposedly twisty narrative arriving at an overly tidy conclusion.

With that said, even just spending time in The Initiated's gloomy city streets and grimy underbelly should be a joy for anyone who already enjoys hardboiled crime dramas. Solid performances and strong technical craft all around keep this world immersive no matter if the central investigation is actually progressing logically or not. It's a film that, impressively, manages to still be suspenseful just on the strength of its mood and atmosphere alone. All the danger feels raw and threatening, and leads us to imagine an even harsher world outside of what we see on screen.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Ana Wills, Andrés Parra, Aria Jara, Francisco Denis, Jorge Cao, José Restrepo, Juan Pablo Urrego, Julio Pachón, Patricia Tamayo

Director: Juan Felipe Orozco

, 2023

It seems unfair to call Neeyat India’s (and Amazon Prime’s) answer to the Knives Out series of films, but it often feels that way. It’s a murder mystery that sides with the poor and satirizes the rich, and it mostly takes place in a grand manor that forces its colorful cast of characters to interact until, inevitably, their hidden motives surface. Of course, Neeyat isn’t an exact replica; it has its own inflections and charms, and figuring out how India’s ultra-rich live, specifically, is its own kind of fun. In fact, this is when the film shines the most, when it allows its talented cast to parade the silliness of their characters. Like Knives Out, it makes for a great ensemble movie. But as a murder mystery, Neeyat is not as successful in weaving multiple mysteries and pulling off twists. It’s bogged down by unnecessary melodrama, flashbacks, and exposition, eventually falling off the rails of logic. It’s still enjoyable, for sure, but maybe more as a campy comedy than as a genuinely thrilling mystery. 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Amrita Puri, Dipannita Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, Niki Aneja Walia, Prajakta Koli, Rahul Bose, Ram Kapoor, Shahana Goswami, Shashank Arora, Shefali Shah, Vidya Balan

Director: Anu Menon

With whole franchises dedicated to cars and motorcycles, cinema has often regarded these individually-piloted machines as intrinsically linked with masculinity. Ustaad is the latest Telugu love letter to motorcycles and planes, as these have shaped protagonist Surya Sivakumar’s life. In debut writer-director Phanideep’s hands, Surya’s journey to becoming a commercial airline pilot is a long one, as Ustaad details Surya’s first motorbike, first romantic relationship, and the way he overcame his fear of heights. It’s a fun drive, and there’s plenty of moments where Phanideep’s style feels free and unrestrained. However, it’s a drive that takes too long, with predictable beats that have been seen before.

Genre: Action, Comedy, Romance

Actor: Anu Hasan, Gautham Vasudev Menon, Kavya Kalyanram, Ravi Shiva Teja, Ravindra Vijay, Sri Simha Koduri, Venkatesh Maha

Director: Phanideep

Fairly atmospheric, visually creepy, and with a unique premise, A Thousand Days had the potential to be a downright terrifying Indonesian horror film. There’s something here about how rich families are willing to sacrifice impoverished young women in order to save one of their own, especially with the way the Atmojo family hasn’t given the full job details to the three girls in this film. There’s something here as well about how various Indonesian ethnic groups treat each other. However, the way the film arranged its scenes, as well as the film’s casting, fails to match the terror of the original Twitter thread that inspired the film. These choices take away some of the scariness that would have made Sewu Dino totally terrifying.

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Actor: Agla Artalidia, Gisellma Firmansyah, Givina Lukita, Karina Suwandi, Marthino Lio, Mikha Tambayong, Pritt Timothy, Rio Dewanto

Director: Kimo Stamboel

Centered on a unique marriage, Satyaprem Ki Katha could have reinvented the romance genre with its depiction of women’s trauma. The film does care about the issue, as it sides with the victim in this regard, and there’s a certain sweetness in the relationship being portrayed. Kiara Advani’s performance feels believable and she clearly makes the best of her existing scenes. However, the film is too afraid to be critical of the men in this film, especially as it’s too concerned with Sattu as a savior. On top of this, it relies too much on the standard Indian song-and-dance, which, while spectacular, takes away too much time from the issue at hand. Because of this, Satyaprem Ki Katha feels like a missed opportunity.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Anuradha Patel, Gajraj Rao, Kartik Aaryan, Kiara Advani, Nirmiti Sawant, Rajpal Yadav, Shikha Talsania, Siddharth Randeria, Supriya Pathak

Director: Sameer Vidwans

To The Hottest Summer's credit, it doesn't shy away from its title; as an erotic romcom, it gives us more sexual content than you'd expect, while still keeping away from anything too explicit. There's an undeniably exciting quality to how much the film is willing to show in its forbidden romance, and lead actors Nicole Damiani and Gianmarco Saurino have chemistry to spare. But while the film can be refreshing in how undaunted it is by the supposed taboo at the center of its story, its desire for simple, carnal thrills means the characters are much flatter than they probably deserve to be. Deacon Nicola's complicated relationship to his faith is never quite explored until it's too late, and Lucia's friendship with Valentina (played by Alice Angelica) seems to be of little consequence, even as the story tries to create drama between their competing affections for the young priest-to-be.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Actor: Alberto Rossi, Alice Angelica, Balkissa Souley Maiga, Barbara Tabita, Gianmarco Saurino, Giuseppe Paternò Raddusa, Luca Capuano, Mehdi Meskar, Michela Giraud, Nicole Damiani, Nino Frassica, Stefania Sandrelli

Director: Matteo Pilati