Film & TV
Sometimes it seems like you need a PI license just to find mystery movies on Netflix. And finding the best of the best available mystery movies? Nearly impossible. Not to worry, we’ve done the dirty work—just for Murder & Mayhem readers. Below, you’ll find 14 of the best mystery movies on Netflix, from modern gems to genre classics.
This David Fincher feature is one of the finest crime movies of the 21st century. Based on the true, unsolved Zodiac killings, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Robert Graysmith, a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Graysmith began keeping track of the sensational case on his own, fascinated by the symbols created by the killer. He teams up with Inspector Paul Avery (Mark Ruffalo) to try to bring the deranged killer to justice.
The Third Man
One of the classics of film noir is now available on Netflix. Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton star in this mystery centered around the end of World War II—and the Cold War’s inception. The script, written by Graham Greene, makes the film the epitome of noir mystery.
The American Side
A loving homage to North by Northwest, Raymond Chandler, and any number of hardboiled detectives, The American Side follows Detective Charlie Paczynski as he gets way, way over his head. Starring Greg Stuhr, Matthew Broderick, and Camilla Belle, this Buffalo-set noir is a romping good time. If you like your noir dour, this may not be for you. But if you’re looking for a mystery with a sense of humor, this will definitely do the trick.
Released back in 1998, The Interview mostly went unnoticed in the U.S., and remains criminally underrated to this day. Hugo Weaving turns in a star performance as Eddie Fleming, a man who is suddenly dragged into a police station and violently interrogated. The catch? Fleming has no idea what he’s being accused of. And the cops are also being investigated.
Man From Reno
Crime novelist Aki Akahori runs from Japan to San Francisco to escape the attention and praise surrounding her after the release of her newest novel. While there, she falls in love with a mysterious traveler. Meanwhile, Sheriff Del Moral attempts to solve the murder of a young Japanese man. Their tales intertwine in complicated ways.
There are a number of Christopher Nolan mysteries on Netflix at the moment, including his first, little-seen feature, Following, and his more famous, twisted mystery, Memento. We’re highlighting The Prestige over the others for a couple reasons. First, people often confuse it with The Illusionist, which came out the same year. Second, it’s easy to dismiss The Prestige as a magic movie. However, it is a true mystery that actually gives the viewer a chance to solve the mystery along with the film. It also features some of Nolan’s most moving work and David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. Need we say more?
This 2015 film makes it clear that Bollywood does much, much more than the musicals and comedies Westerners associate with the industry. Vijay Salgaonkar has worked his way up from poor orphan to successful business owner. When his daughter is blackmailed, the family struggles to cover up all of their transgressions.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The 2011 adaptation of John le Carré’s classic has stands on its own merit in the espionage thriller world. Gary Oldman was nominated for an Oscar for his role as George Smiley. Whether you’re a le Carré fiend or this will be your introduction to the king of spy fiction, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a masterpiece.
The original Oldboy, directed by Park Chan-wook, is a sumptuously filmed discovery of how far the average man will go to get revenge and achieve repentance. A businessman is seemingly randomly kidnapped and held hostage for 15 years. When he is released out of the blue and without explanation, he attempts to hold the people who ruined his life responsible. If you’ve only seen the American version, you should really see Chan-wook’s original vision.
Lucky Number Slevin
Lucky Number Slevin is a fun, twisted ride, although it's slightly less clever than it thinks it is. Lucy Liu is firing on all cylinders, and other big names are doing their most, from Stanley Tucci to Bruce Willis.
David Lynch’s breakthrough film updated noir for the 21st century. Naomi Watts is the center of this Hollywood mystery. Not only is Mulholland Drive an exhilarating mystery, it’s also a parable about the unreality of Los Angeles.
Yes, this is a comedy. But it’s also a great cop mystery movie, filled with loving references to buddy comedies throughout the years. Simon Pegg is a too-good cop sent out to the country so that he will stop making his fellow cops look bad. There, he’s teamed up with Nick Frost. When they discover that the strange deaths in Sandford are connected, they’ll stop at nothing to find the perpetrators and take them down.
Another classic, this Otto Preminger film features perhaps the quintessential femme fatale, eponymous Laura. Nearly everyone who encounters Laura falls in love with her. When she mysteriously dies, all of the men in her life lose their grasp on reality.
This South Korean drama follows a woman who would do anything to protect her son. When Do-jun is accused of murder, Mother knows that he is not responsible. But she must go up against the police and lawyers to find the truth—and she will, no matter the cost.
Featured still from "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" via Netflix