Although most Prime Video subscribers know of at least a few great movies on the service, it’s easy for plenty of great titles to fly completely under the radar. These movies are typically older titles that the service has no interest in promoting, but that doesn’t mean that those movies aren’t well worth watching.
If you’re interested in digging through Amazon Prime Video to find some great movies, then Eve’s Bayou may be perfect for you. The movie is leaving Prime at the end of January, but until then, you’ve got time to check it out. The movie, which tells the story of a Black family’s unraveling in Louisiana in the 1960s, is well worth watching. Here are three reasons why:
Thanks in large part to its setting, Eve’s Bayou encapsulates what great Southern Gothic filmmaking should look like. Director. Kasi Lemmons shoots the swamps of Louisiana in a way that makes them feel both inviting and terrifying, and it’s that combination that makes the movie’s atmosphere so crucial.
There’s something about the humidity, and the way you can feel the heat of this summer on screen, that helps you understand exactly how each of the movie’s principal characters are feeling, and why things eventually come to a boil the way that they do.
One of the most brilliant elements of Eve’s Bayou is that the movie is told from the perspective of a 10-year-old girl who is only beginning to realize the darkness at the heart of her family. Secret Invasion survivor Samuel L. Jackson plays this girl’s father, a doctor who seems to be beloved by the community around him.
As we learn more about him, though, Jackson gets the chance to deliver one of his most commanding and terrifying performances. Few actors would be willing to play a man who, at least on paper, is so repulsive, but part of Jackson’s skill comes from his ability to help us understand how much this man’s charisma can cover up the darkness just beneath it.
Although Eve’s Bayou is in many ways terrifying, it’s also a movie that carefully depicts how it feels to realize that your family is not some perfect shelter from the rest of the world. Young Jurnee Smollett plays Eve, the young girl who comes to understand what many members of her family have worked hard to shelter her from.
Smollett is wonderful in this central role, and perfectly conveys what it feels like to lose the feeling of security that family can provide. Not everyone’s story is as dramatic as Eve’s, but most people know what it feels like to lose their sense of innocence.
Eve’s Bayou is streaming on Amazon Prime Video until January 31.
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