Must See Crime Thriller Movies

Crime thrillers can be some of the most exciting movies to watch. Offering suspenseful plotlines, plenty of drama, and a nail-biting sense of adventure, crime thrillers can transport viewers to an entire different world of thrilling mystery. With so many acclaimed classics, such as The Godfather, Chinatown, and L.A. Confidential, and contemporary favorites, like Gone Girl and Prisoners, there are countless must-see crime thrillers that everyone should experience.

Two of the most iconic crime thrillers ever made are The Godfather and Chinatown, both directed by the legendary Francis Ford Coppola. The Godfather, released in 1972, follows the Corleone family in the 1940s as it attempts to keep power in its criminal organization despite continual pressure from rival gangs. Chinatown also takes place in the 1940s, focusing on a private detective who is hired to investigate a water rights dispute. This film is widely hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, as it features perfect performances and brilliantly constructed plot twists.

The Talented Mr. Ripley, released in 1999, is a psychological thriller directed by Anthony Minghella. The film follows con-man Tom Ripley as he is hired to take the place of an Italian billionaire’s long-lost son, Dickie. The movie has several gripping plot twists and thrilling moments that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Along with its fantastically constructed plot, it also features outstanding performances from Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jude Law.

In more recent years, some of the most iconic crime thrillers have been Gone Girl, Prisoners, and The Place Beyond the Pines. Gone Girl, released in 2014, follows a man as he is wrongfully accused of murder, with the plot taking several twists and turns. Prisoners, released the same year, follows a father as he attempts to find the kidnappers of his daughter and her friend. The Place Beyond the Pines, released in 2012, is an intense and emotional drama that follows a stuntman who takes on a life of crime in order to support his family. All three of these movies are gripping and must-see examples of crime thrillers.

One of the best aspects of crime thrillers is that the genre is constantly evolving. Although classic crime thrillers may employ similar plotlines, the themes, characters, and story beats keep reinventing themselves in intriguing ways. There are countless innovations in the genre, from groundbreaking cinematography, to outstanding performances, to unconventional plotlines. For this reason, crime thrillers are among the most captivating and exciting genres of film.

Suspenseful Music

The music in a crime thriller is just as essential as the plot, characters, and cinematography. The soundtrack can make or break a crime thriller, as it helps to convey the emotions and suspenseful mood of the movie. Music can add a feeling of dread or anticipation, making each scene more palpable and emotionally intense. Numerous renowned composers have left their mark on the genre, such as John Williams with his iconic score for Jaws, and Bernard Herrmann with his work on Psycho. All of these scores help to bring the thrills of crime thrillers to life, creating an engaging experience for viewers.

Unexpected Plot Twists

A major selling point of crime thrillers is their unpredictable plotlines. A well-constructed plot twist can leave viewers shocked and in awe, and the best crime thrillers have plenty of these moments. These plot twists can often be shocking and unexpected, as they usually incorporate some random element or surprise that catches viewers off guard. By defying audience expectations and taking the plot in a new direction, crime thrillers can keep viewers captivated and on the edge-of-their-seats.

Societal Commentary

Many crime thrillers are smart, thought-provoking films that incorporate social commentary. They often use the genre’s conventions to explore the darker side of society and the human psyche. Crime thrillers can delve into political topics, such as corruption and power, or touch on matters of morality, such as good and evil. These films may also explore themes of identity and belonging, making them more than just entertainment; they can be quite profound and moving.

Themes of Redemption

One of the most resonant themes found in crime thrillers is the idea of redemption – the notion that one can never ultimately escape the consequences of past mistakes. This is often seen in the form of the anti-hero or morally ambiguous protagonist, such as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, or Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley. The hero’s moral ambiguity allows for interesting exploration of themes such as morality, justice, and consequences; it is this complex characterization that often makes the best crime thrillers so compelling.

Visual Imagery

The visual style of a crime thriller can have just as big an impact as its plot or characters. Directors often use visual symbolism to add depth to their stories and to draw viewers into the movie’s world. From the disorienting camera angles of Hitchcock’s Vertigo to the dimly lit noir-style photography of Chinatown, directors use various visual techniques to create mood and atmosphere. With the help of clever cinematography and cleverly composed shots, directors can help bring their stories to life in a powerful way.

Smart Use of Technology

Modern crime thrillers are very reliant upon technological devices and gadgets to move a plot forward. From the hacking in Mr. Robot to the surveillance of Black Mirror, technology is used to manipulate, deceive, and surprise. Technology can often be used as an important character in itself, as it allows for interesting exploration of the complex relationship between man and machine. Cleverly written stories featuring inventive use of technology are what set modern crime thrillers apart from their predecessors.

Making the Impossible Possible

The best crime thrillers often require viewers to suspend their disbelief. From unbelievable escapes to technological advancements, many crime thrillers break the boundaries of reality and delve into the impossible. Despite this, these movies often provide some truth under their outrageous plots and daring characters. Although these movies may not be entirely realistic, they serve to entertain and provide an escape from reality. By mixing fantasy with reality, crime thrillers can often be more enjoyable and engaging.

Action Sequences

One of the most unforgettable aspects of crime thrillers are the action sequences, usually featuring stunningly choreographed fights or exciting car chases. These sequences are essential for giving the audience a break from the built-up tension of the plot, allowing for a much-needed release of energy.The most memorable action sequences often use clever camera angles and thrilling soundtracks to keep viewers engaged, creating a vivid and visually-stunning spectacle.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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