To watch a crime movie, from light-hearted capers to grim dramas, these movies peel back the motivations and consequences of a life people are pushed toward through circumstances. Or, in some cases, through pure outlaw spirit. Each of these films provides a different perspective on the lawless streak that festers within society, and within us. They show what happens when people choose to go off-script. So, sit back, put on your detective hat and take in the best crime movies that are criminally underrated:
8. Lucky Number Slevin
A case of mistaken identity puts a man named Slevin (Josh Hartnett) in the middle of a war between two rival New York crime lords: The Rabbi (Ben Kingsley) and the Boss (Morgan Freeman). While under the watchful eyes of Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci) and well-known assassin Goodkat (Bruce Willis), Slevin must quickly devise a plan to save his skin before his luck runs out.
7. The Secret In Their Eyes
Hoping to put to rest years of unease concerning a past case, retired criminal investigator Benjamín Espósito (Ricardo Darín) begins writing a novel based on the decades-old unsolved mystery of a newlywed’s rape and murder. With the help of a former colleague, Judge Irene Menéndez Hastings (Soledad Villamil), Benjamín attempts to make sense of the past. The journey through his memories sets Benjamín on a thrilling emotional path that leads to a shocking realization.
6. Tell No One
Margot (Marie-Josée Croze) was murdered by a serial killer eight years ago, and her husband, Alexandre (François Cluzet), continues to mourn her death. One day, the police discover two dead bodies near Alexandre’s home, along with a cache of evidence implicating him in the crime. On the same day, Alexandre receives an email with a video showing his wife alive and well, along with a simple message: “Tell no one.” With the police breathing down his neck, Alexandre goes on the run.
David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the sole survivor of a devastating train wreck. Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) is a mysterious stranger who offers a bizarre explanation as to why David escaped without a single scratch — an explanation which threatens to change David’s family and his life forever.
Isabella El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon), the wife of an Egyptian engineer, tries desperately to track down her husband after he disappears on an international flight. Meanwhile, a CIA analyst’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) world spins out of control as he witnesses the engineer’s unorthodox interrogation at the hands of secret police.
3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Two-bit crook Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) stumbles into an audition for a mystery film while on the run from the cops. Winning the part, he lands in Hollywood, where he’s flung into a tangled, murderous conspiracy with his childhood sweetheart, Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan), and hard-boiled private eye Perry van Shrike (Val Kilmer).
En route to Canada with stolen casino loot, a thief (Olivia Wilde) separates from her brother (Eric Bana) and falls in with a boxer (Charlie Hunnam) who’s on his way home for Thanksgiving.
1. A Walk Among Tombstones
Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson), formerly part of the NYPD, now works as an unlicensed private detective. His latest client is a drug trafficker (Dan Stevens) whose wife was kidnapped and brutally murdered, and as Scudder delves deeper, he finds that the crime’s sequence is the modus operandi of the perpetrators. Before they can strike again and destroy other lives, Scudder races through the back streets of New York to catch the killers, blurring the lines between lawful and criminal as he goes.