2023 was an incredible year for crime movies. The releases vary from true stories to dark horror, with a few lighter comedies to balance the two. Scorcese has everyone buzzing, Fincher slipped in a neo-noir hit, and quite a few indie movies dazzled despite limited budgets.
Here are 13 of the best crime movies released so far in 2023.
Killers of the Flower Moon
If there’s one crime movie to watch this year, it’s this one. Scorcese knows how to bring riveting crime dramas to life. And this is no exception. Where the book focused on the injustice perpetrated against the Osage people, Scorcese hones in on the criminals, emphasizing not just the intellectual horror their actions took but how truly awful these individuals were, and in some cases, still are.
Based on the true story of journalist Loretta McLaughlin, the first reporter to connect the gruesome murders and named the unidentified serial killer “the Boston Strangler” in print. Keira Knightley shines as the doggedly determined McLaughlin and the darker noir tones recreate the dreary and often sexist atmosphere she faced. Even though the story is based on facts, Ruskin manages to create unexpected twists topped with unsettling tension that keeps viewers riveted all the way to the end.
Everything Will Be Fine in the End
A dark, crime comedy about a group of young people living on the edge of society whose lives are changed by a single act of violence. It’s a somber and introspective look at trying to stay afloat when life tries to kick you down, told through multiple narratives all circling around and through each other.
To Catch a Killer
Drawing from the tormented but talented Clarice Starling vein, To Catch a Killer centers around Eleanor, a young police investigator battling her own demons. She’s called to help profile a killer when it becomes clear that her own tortured psyche might be the key to understanding and predicting the unpredictable.
There’s something about merging a crime story with horror. It elevates the tension by adding a measure of unpredictability, that when done right is immensely satisfying to watch. Add in incredible special effects, a layered flashback approach, shocking twists, and an almost playful take on violent depravity—and you’re in for a wild ride. What’s even more impressive is the tiny budget this movie delivered on.
It’s a good year when both Scorcese and Fincher release new movies. Based on a French graphic novel series of the same name, the film follows Michael Fassbender as the titular killer who finds himself in the middle of an international manhunt after an assassination goes wrong. It’s a subversively dark neo-noir story that is as satisfying as it is entertaining.
Sympathy for the Devil
If you’re in the mood for dark and weird, Nicolas Cage is your man. He does what he wants, the way he wants, and this movie is all the better for it. An unhinged story about an unhinged man portrayed by a possible unhinged actor, it’s a story that focuses on a cat-and-mouse game that unravels as quickly as the stakes escalate.
Luther: The Fallen Sun
Based on the beloved television series, Idris Elba returns as the iconic detective to face off against a serial killer who proves to be a formidable opponent. The film excels in its bridge to draw in new viewers while giving fans plenty of brooding, morally gray grit that made the series so popular.
A sharp and unflattering look at some of the individuals who profited from pushing addiction. The all-star cast featuring Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, and Andy Garcia dives into the different psyches that push people into committing atrocious acts stemming from both desperation and greed.
There’s something I love about non-linear timelines in crime movies. Maybe it’s because all the clues are out of order but also presented just right to really make figuring out what happened hit even harder. At least, that’s what happens in Sharper. It features an all-star cast filled with con artists and billionaires, all working different elements of a puzzle that is exhilarating to watch come together.
Murder Mystery 2
Aniston and Sandler once again create movie magic in a fun romp that mixes just the right amount of humor with the crime. The movie picks up a year after the first, where the two now run a private detective agency. Their skills are immediately tested when their billionaire friend is abducted. It’s lighthearted entertainment that blends a good time with a satisfying mystery.
Filmed at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and tackling the intimate themes rattling around #metoo, Barber is a darkly claustrophobic film. Aidan Gillen portrays complex, flawed men with vivid depth, and Barber is a man barely hanging on as the world around him closes in. As he digs through secrets, powerful men want to stay buried, and the tension ratchets up, but Barber and the audience have nowhere to go but deeper.
Sound of Freedom
The highly controversial movie based on a true story boasts over 10,000 reviews at 99% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a dark story delving into the horrors of child trafficking. When a federal agent finds out the sister of a young boy recently rescued is still enslaved, he puts his life on hold trying to find and rescue her.