We pay our annual visit to the crime movies currently streaming on Netflix. Crime, both real and imagined, provides a wealth of material for screen writers and always will. In one form or another, it’s probably the largest genre available. We have chosen ten very different movies from the current Netflix portfolio although there are many more.
10. 1922 – 2017
Directed by: Zak Hilditch
Starring: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid
Running time: 1hr 42mins
From the book by Stephen King, the movie starts with a mony-grubbing crime – Wilfred murders his wife to inherit her land – but quickly heads off into the supernatural. Welcome to Stephen King! 1922 is nothing if not atmospheric and tends to focus on the charcters at the expense of the plot. But this is not all bad. Thomas Jane in the role of Wilfred performs out of his skin and it’s worth watching for this alone.
9. The Loft – 2014
Directed by: Erik Van Looy
Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller
Running time: 1hr 48mins
The Loft is a rather underrated movie and a remake of a 2008 Belgian movie. There’s no great action but the unfolding plot and it’s twists and turns are thoroughly absorbing. The time jumps require concentration but this is no bad thing. Ultimately, this is an examination of jealously and revenge and it’s very nicely done.
8. J. Edgar – 2011
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts
Running time: 2hrs 17mins
Everyone has heard of J Edgar Hoover and is aware of his role as the ehad of the FBI for nearly 50 years. In his early career he was fixated by communism in the movie industry and it’s rathe ironic that it takes a movie to highlight what an ocean going SH one T he was. It’s nice to be able to include a piece from Clint Eastwood in our list as he brought to life one of the finest screen detectives ever – Harry Callaghan – in his early career.
7. The Negotiator – 1998
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse
Running time: 2hrs 20mins
Samuel L Jackson doesn’t always pull the best scripts but the Negiator is one of his better movies. We all like a good conspiracy and he’s caught up in the middle of a humdinger. His route out is to resort to crime in the taking of hostages to buy time to find out who’s setting hime up. A rather hackneyed concept but well excuted in this case.
6. Michael Clayton – 2007
Directed by: Tony Gilroy
Starring: George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson
Running time: 1hr 59mins
Michael Clayton is a fixer for a law firm – whatever that means – and is in something of a mess in his own personal life. This is a strong story which many crime movies miss and George Clooney put in a powerful preformance, his best for a while; and there’s some fine work from the Brit Tom Wilkinson. A viewing of Michael Clayton is a couple of hours well spent.
5. The Interview – 1998
Directed by: Craig Monahan
Starring: Hugo Weaving, Tony Martin, Aaron Jeffery
Running time: 1hr 44mins
Set in Australia (who says we’re not cosmopolitan) The Interview is a truly compelling movie. Relying purely on acting and a magnicent dialogue, the relationship between Hugo Weaving and Tony Martin will have you spellbound. The mind of a serial killer is an unknown and the way the movie addresses the approach of law enforcement officers to this most impossible of subjects is almost perfect.
4. Gangs of New York – 2002
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis
Running time: 2hrs 47mins
We have yet another Scorsese ganster movie. Where did he get this fascination? This time we look at the Irish and other immigrant communities who seem content to kick seven bells out of each other to try and rule the streets. Daniel Day-Lewis, as usual, lifts the movie to greater heights than a lesser actor might have been able. This is a movie about tough people and there areally are no good guys to be found.
3. Casino – 1995
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci
Running time: 2hrs 58mins
If ever there was a reprise of Goodfellas, this is it. Pesci and De Niro are almost indistinguishable from their 1990 characters and, remarkably, they pull it off. Casino explores the darker side of Las Vegas – yes there is one – and, in typical Martin Scorsese style, does it well. But the real star of the show is Sharon Stone who, in any other year, could easily have won the Oscar. This is a classy movie.
2. Goodfellas – 1990
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci
Running time: 2hrs 26mins
Based on the true story of Henry Hill – the book Wise Guys is an excellent read by the way – Goodfellas has become recognised as classic and earned an Oscar for Joe Pesci. This is a gritty movie that pulls no punches. The violence and crime are a way of life to the post war mob in New York and we are not invited to approve. There are some nice light hearted moments that quickly descend into the mucky side of life for these Goodfellas. And they are far from good.
1. The Godfather – 1972
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan and many more
Running time: 2hrs 55mins
The Godfather is not just one of the greatest crime movies ever made, it’s arguably one of the greatest movies ever made. Together with it’s two sequels, it takes from the villages of Scicily to the world of high finance and corrucption in the Vatican. This is a giant of a trilogy and the only trilogy where all three movies have won Oscars. While it never sets out to glorify the movie neither do we end up despising them. There is a undoubted warmth underlying this story of an immigrant family.