Who doesn't love a good mystery? Especially when that mystery can be solved over the course of an evening or two sitting in your living room, watching TV.
Netflix knows what you love, and has a plethora of mystery-driven movies that will entertain you for hours on end. The next time you want to play armchair Sherlock, check out these titles.
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The American (2010)
WARNING: Trailers sold George Clooney's Euro-thriller as a high-octane shoot-'em-up fueled by A-list talent. Whoops -- not even close (so apologies to anyone who felt burnt during its lackluster theatrical run). The American is a steamy slow-burn about an assassin's last job, as obsessed with Clooney's mysteriously handsome mug as it is the whodunnit mystery. By lingering on every move, fetishizing each step in a rifle build, The American turns its bursts of excitement into life-or-death action sequences. What didn't work in theaters will pair beautifully with your couch and three bottles of wine.
Writer/director Rian Johnson made a textbook noir flick -- a hardboiled story complete with fast-paced detective dialogue -- but updated it by setting it in a contemporary American high school. The result is a refreshing take on a classic form. After his ex-girlfriend goes missing, Joseph Gordon Levitt's isolated teen feels compelled to follow the breadcrumbs she left behind. As he follows a series of clues, he discovers a world of underground crime in his high school. It's become a cult classic for all the right reasons.
Some mysteries simmer; this one smolders. In his adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story, writer and director Lee Chang-dong includes many elements of the acclaimed author's slyly mischievous style -- cats, jazz, cooking, and an alienated male writer protagonist all pop up -- but he also invests the material with his own dark humor, stray references to contemporary news, and an unyielding sense of curiosity. We follow aimless aspiring novelist Lee Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) as he reconnects with Shin Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo), a young woman he grew up with, but the movie never lets you get too comfortable in one scene or setting. When Yeun's Ben, a handsome rich guy with a beautiful apartment and a passion for burning down greenhouses, appears, the film shifts to an even more tremulous register. Can Ben be trusted? Yeun's performance is perfectly calibrated to entice and confuse, like he's a suave, pyromaniac version of Tyler Durden. Each frame keeps you guessing.
Dark Places (2015)
Libby Day's entire family was brutally murdered in the '80s, and her brother was convicted for the crime. Growing up to live a troubled life, refusing to rationalize what happened to her, the distant woman played by Charlize Theron is forced to reckon with the truth when a group of private investigators present evidence to her that may prove someone else was guilty for the crime. Adapted by the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, the indie thriller may be a slow burn, but it shoves the relationship between women and violence to its forefront, unveiling a dark, unsuspecting story.
Everybody Knows (2018)
Asghar Farhadi’s (A Separation) Everybody Knows closely examines a family in crisis to illustrate how damaging secrets can be when left to fester. The Spanish film stars Penélope Cruz as Laura, a woman returning to her small hometown outside of Madrid whose visit for a family wedding becomes a nightmare when her daughter disappears from the reception without a trace. Cruz acts opposite Javier Bardem's Paco, a lifelong friend who's just as obsessed as Laura with finding the whereabouts of her daughter. While Everybody Knows is certainly about solving the abduction before it's too late, the tension exists mostly in the home itself, as the family points fingers at one another and struggles to reckon with the past in the face of the present's tragedy.
Imagine if Hannibal Lecter was a wry aeronautical engineer instead of a pontificating serial killer and and Clarice Starling was a hot shot DA played by Ryan Gosling instead of an FBI agent played by Jodie Foster and you can picture Fracture. This standard-issued, cat-and-mouse legal thriller becomes so much more with Anthony Hopkins' expositional whispers and Gosling's commitment to going apeshit crazy in his pursuit for the truth.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
A meditative horror flick that's more unsettling than outright frightening, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House follows the demise of Lily, a live-in nurse (Ruth Wilson) who's caring for an ailing horror author. As Lily discovers the truth about the writer's fiction and home, the lines between the physical realm and the afterlife blur. The movie's slow pacing and muted escalation might frustrate viewers craving showy jump-scares, but writer-director Oz Perkins is worth keeping tabs on. He brings a beautiful eeriness to every scene, and his story will captivate patient streamers. Fans should be sure to check out his directorial debut, The Blackcoat's Daughter.
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)
In this maniacal mystery, Ruth (Melanie Lynskey), a nurse, and her rattail-sporting, weapon-obsessed neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) hunt down a local burglar. Part Cormac McCarthy thriller, part wacky, Will Ferrell-esque comedy, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a cathartic neo-noir about everyday troubles. Director Macon Blair's not the first person to find existential enlightenment at the end of an amateur detective tale, but he might be the first to piece one together from cussing octogenarians, ninja stars, Google montages, gallons of Big Red soda, upper-deckers, friendly raccoons, exploding body parts, and the idiocy of humanity.
In Order of Disappearance (2014)
Norway knows how to thrill. In this snow-white black comedy, Stellan Skarsgård searches for the truth surrounding his son's recent death, eventually launching him into Taken mode against a local drug ring. Coen-esque touches and kick-ass takedowns make this the perfect material for Skarsgård, legendary actor Bruno Ganz, and Game of Thrones star Kristofer Hivju.
The Interview (1998)
This Usual Suspects-esque Australian thriller follows the tale of Eddie Fleming (Hugo Weaving), a man interrogated by the police for a crime he may or may not have committed. Staged almost entirely within that interrogation room, the interplay between Fleming and the cops is tense as hell while the balance of power and sympathies continually shifts. Who is really on trial, and for what, are questions that get asked and answered in a series of twists that still have the power to shock almost 20 years later.
Mystic River (2003)
In the early 2000s, director Clint Eastwood was cranking out Oscar bait like it was his job, which it was, and Mystic River actually delivers the goods (not to mention actual Oscars for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins). Part mystery, part revenge narrative, part meditation on grief and trauma, Mystic River's complexity remains accessible as an exploration of the unbreakable links between childhood and adulthood. Even Sean Penn haters will be moved.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
This interpretation of the Victorian-era favorites Holmes and Watson is led by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, and enhanced by director Guy Ritchie's excesses. The combination works, because it turns the period piece into a bona fide Hollywood action hit. The lavish production and big-budget action sequences may not have been what Arthur Conan Doyle had in mind when he created the characters, but as the detective duo embarks on an occult-ish investigation of a missing serial killer, the film imbues the sleuthing story with adrenaline-pumping energy. There are clues and intrigue, and thrilling scenes that play like Mission: Impossible set in the 1800s.
Taking Lives (2004)
Angelina Jolie stars in this biting thriller as a special agent on a mission to track down a serial killer who murders men and steals their identities. It seems like a pretty commonplace task for Jolie's character -- except all she has to work with is the testimony of one witness who she's not sure she can trust.