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Top 5 Murder Mystery Movies

Counting down our Top 5 'Whodunnit?' films

We are truly living in the age of the murder mystery. With last year alone seeing Death on the Nile, Glass Onion, Bodies Bodies Bodies and See How They Run releasing on the big screen. We took the opportunity on the most recent episode of The Focus Film Podcast to rank our favourite five, it was a difficult discussion with so many worthy contenders, but a decision was met. - click here to listen to the discussion


5. L.A. Confidential

Directed by Jon Favreau

"This is the city of angels, and you don't have any wings."

It's as much a noir piece as they get, and the film never stops to let you work out who everyone is. Much like it's detectives, L.A.Confidential lets the audience figure things out as it goes. With an absolutely stellar cast and a complex plot to drive the narrative forward, there's no doubting this is a murder mystery that focuses on it's film noir-genre moments more than it's mystery, and that works to its advantage.


4. Shutter Island

Directed by Martin Scorsese

"You act like insanity is catching."

Another unconventional murder mystery, Shutter Island definitely ticks the boxes needed to warrant a place on this list. Leonardo Dicaprio gives one of his best performances and its twists and turns in ways you could never imagine. He's a detective, he's solving a mystery, but he's more integral to the main plot that than those leading mystery-solvers often are.

Scorsese is doing something wholly different in this one (despite Leo) and it massively pays off.


3. Rear Window

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

"Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence."

It's one of those cinema classics that everybody needs to see, and such a great concept. Having Jeff ailed with a broken leg instantly places the audience on his side, witnessing the events close to real time.

Director Alfred Hitchcock convinces you that the outcome is heading one way and then subverts expectations, as he is so well-renowned for doing. A classic, and a superb murder mystery.


2. Zodiac

Directed by David Fincher

"I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it's him."

Instantly when you think of murder mystery you think of it being a very fun genre, though our list would beg to differ. And possibly the darkest of them all is Zodiac, a film about the detectives solving the crimes committed by the Zodiac killer. Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, Brian Cox...every member of the cast is exceptional and the film is played and paced to perfection. A modern day masterpiece!


1. Knives Out

Directed by Rian Johnson

"I suspect foul play."

This list exists because of Knives Out, and if we're honest the success of murder mysteries in the past few years has the new Benoit Blanc series to thank. Daniel Craig charges a cast through a twisted family drama with a murder mystery twist at its centre.

Again it has a cast to sing about, a perfect level of fun and suspense, and a Southern-American accent more tongue-in-cheek than the knife centrepiece in this movie.


Worthy Contenders

Films that came close, but for whatever reason, didn't quite make the cut

See How They Run

Perhaps a little too recent to make the list, but it's a whole load of fun.

Kenneth Branagh's Agatha Christie Murder Mysteries

Although these films are average at best, it's still a bit of fun seeing these stellar casts at the centre of a moustache-full murder mystery.

Bodies Bodies Bodies

It's mental, and the final twist is absolutely perfect.

Knives Out available now on Netflix

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