This year on Netflix, there’s a lot of tense, riveting entertainment, and movies to watch. It’s the same feeling you get when you watch your favorite band live or when you place a bet at a casino, but nothing compares to a suspenseful crime movie to get those pulses racing. We’ve compiled a list of the top crime films now available on Netflix. There’s no disputing the allure of well-made films in this genre: fans may be engaged in and fascinated by the stories of folks living on the outskirts–all while remaining secure behind the screen.
Fortunately for lovers of the genre, filmmakers have been drawing inspiration from the thrills of crime since the invention of moving pictures on film, so there are plenty of terrific options to watch when you’re in the mood. Some are based on remarkable actual incidents; others are wild cinematic adventures conceived by some of the top filmmakers in the business. Still, others cross genres, resulting in fantastic and surprising tales of murder, organized crime, thievery, and other fascinating sins. Here are five of the best crime movies on Netflix, which cover most of these plots.
1) Uncut Gems
To be honest, Adam Sandler was robbed of an Academy Award nomination for this. In Ben and Josh Safdie’s gripping crime caper about a compulsive gambler who stakes everything on a once-in-a-lifetime bet, the oft-criticized megastar gives his most outstanding performance to date as towering presence, Howard Ratner. As Howard’s long-suffering wife, Idina Menzel gives a standout performance. The masterful Uncut Gems is a two-hour-plus anxiety attack that is so tense and high-stakes that it might give you a mental breakdown. This is, at its core, a story about addiction; Howard can’t and won’t quit until he’s damaged everyone’s life and is forcibly stopped.
1922 is one of the several original films Netflix has secretly released on its streaming service. I had no idea this film was in development until it appeared in my Netflix “Movies You May Like” category, which is about as hit-or-miss as blindfolded brain surgery. But the notion that it was based on a Stephen King story enticed me to watch it, and I was rewarded with a very creepy supernatural murder story. It’s a little like A Simple Plan, only it’s set in the pre-WWII American heartlands and involves real spirits.
Jane portrays a farmer towards the end of his life who is writing a thorough confession of a genuinely horrible crime, and the film is mainly recounted in flashback. It’s a gripping slow-burn thriller with a primary villain so nasty that the stench of what he’s done taints everything around him.
3) I Care a Lot
I Care a Lot, a thriller featuring Rosamund Pike as a legal caregiver who uses the justice system to defraud older people of everything they own, is somewhere between horrifying and humorous. Everything is going swimmingly until she meets someone with ties that are a little tighter than she’s used to. The film will make you question whether you’d rather be involved in human trafficking or elder abuse, which is a no-win situation. Despite this, the film is fantastic.
4) Layer Cake
Daniel Craig plays an unidentified London drug dealer set to up sticks and travel abroad in this Matthew Vaughn-directed 2005 drama. Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham), his supplier, however, requires a favor or two. First and foremost, our protagonist must locate a strong mafia boss’s drug-addicted daughter. Second, he must negotiate the sale of a massive ecstasy shipment. Craig gives a five-star performance in this slick British gangster film featuring drugs, crime, and fantastic acting.
5) The Bling Ring
The Bling Ring is based on a Vanity Fair article by Nancy Jo Sales about a rash of robberies in the Los Angeles area in 2008–2009, when a group of high-schoolers from Calabasas, California, managed to infiltrate the estates of Bloom, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, and others, taking whatever they wanted. The spree begins when a smiling sociopath (Katie Chang) enlists the help of a new kid (Israel Broussard) to break into a friend’s house. Their attention soon shifts to celebrities. Because of the Internet, it’s easy to figure out when Paris is out of town—and she, too, appears to leave her keys under the mat.
The Bling Ring discreetly ponders entitlement culture as the ring extends to encompass the duo’s friends (particularly those played by Emma Watson, who steals the movie, and Taissa Farmiga, Vera’s younger sister).
Nothing beats a suspenseful crime thriller to keep you engrossed for a few hours. Comedies make us laugh, horrors scare us, and dramas make us cry, but thrillers sink their teeth into us in ways that can keep us thinking about the movie for days on end. Netflix has a ton of the best crime movies that you won’t be able to stop watching once you start.