Streaming services really have helped with the explosion of documentaries in recent years, and Prime Video is no different.
While it may not have the same depth of original documentaries as Netflix or Disney+, there's still plenty to choose from on the streaming service. In fact, there's more than a few that you won't be able to find anywhere else.
Here are a few suggestions...
'Finding Jack Charlton'
Few people have impacted Ireland more in sporting terms than Jack Charlton. Even if you have a passing interest in football, you'll know Big Jack's story. 'Finding Jack Charlton' takes in the icon's career - from his career with the England team during their win at the World Cup in 1966, through to his ten-year run as manager of Ireland, and on to his retirement and beyond. More specifically, however, 'Finding Jack Charlton' doesn't shy away from his latter years, particularly his struggles with dementia and the impact it had on his family and those who loved and knew him best. Frequently heartbreaking but nevertheless worthy of your time.
Again, even if you have a passing interest in football, 'Diego Maradona' is less a movie about the sport and more about the people who partake in it. Maradona's wild, hedonistic days in Italy are examined with sharp detail and a cracking '80s soundtrack to boot. Asif Kapadia makes full use of archival footage to tell the jaw-dropping true story of Maradona's rise and fall. It frequently feels like you're watching a crime thriller alá 'Scarface', and that's kind of the point - if ever there was a figure who went close to the edge in football, it was Diego Maradona.
Punk aficiandos will be more than familiar with the Stooges, and Jim Jarmusch's documentary on the punk pioneers is easily the definitive one. What's fascinating about 'Gimme Danger' compared to other documentaries is that it frequently embraces the fact that the Stooges were more or less ignored and reviled in their early days, a disappointment to their record companies, and played to mostly hostile crowds. Still and all, The Stooges eventually found their tribe and became the influence for punk of the late '70s and '80s. Jarmusch captures it all with brutal honesty and effective storytelling, and it helps that their songs are great too.
'In Search of the Last Action Heroes'
Action cinema reached its zenith in the '80s. You had the likes of John Woo directing mad-cap shootouts in Hong Kong, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone battling for blockbuster supremacy, and weird and wonderful sights from Australia with 'Mad Max'. Oliver Harper's documentary takes in the decade's greatest hits with interviews from some of the people who were there to witness - Vernon Wells from 'Commando', Bill Duke from 'Predator', not to mention names like Mario Kassar, Mark L. Lester, Boaz Davidson, and plenty more.
'A Doctor's Sword'
Although every pub in Ireland has some kind of curiosity behind the bar, few of them are as exceptional as the one told in 'A Doctor's Sword'. Mixing animation with archival footage and heart-rending interviews, this Irish documentary tells the story of a UCC-trained doctor who survived World War II and, specifically, the horrors of Nagasaki and was bequeathed a samurai sword by a Japanese officer. Years later, his descendants trace the story of the sword and travel to Japan to discover its owner and their father's past.
'The Queen of Ireland'
Panti Bliss is known to those of us in Dublin as the drag queen who owns the pub at the top of Capel Street, but the exceptional life and story of Rory O'Neill is one that's brought into focus by director Conor Horgan. Utilising frank interviews about life in Ireland during the '80s when homosexuality was illegal and archive footage, 'The Queen of Ireland' charts a drag queen's story and Ireland's emergence as a progressive nation, through to the passing of the Marriage Equality Act.