Feeling investigative? If you’re not sure which movie to go for, allow us to clue you in. From detective stories and whodunnits to suspenseful dramas, here are the best mystery-themed movies and shows to stream now.
Patriot is about a secret agent meddling with the Iranian elections to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Ok, so like Homeland? Yes, and also very much no. Its protagonist is not a hardened, larger-than-life secret operative but a singer-songwriter stoner with PTSD.
As far as spy dramas go, Patriot certainly takes a lot of risks. Professional assassin John Tavener (played by Michael Dorman), whose dad (played by the amazing Terry O'Quinn from Lost) is the intelligence chief, is on an undercover mission in Iran. But, he's not sure he wants to be. On top of that, he faces an incompetent federal bureaucracy, challenges to maintaining his cover, and bouts of mental illness.
Tavener is no hero. Patriot is more a mix between offbeat spy thriller and workplace comedy with a lot of dark humor in between.
Julia Roberts first small-screen role is that of Heidi Bergman, a woman working as a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a facility that helps war veterans return to civilian life. Her boss Colin Belfast, superbly played by Bobby Cannavale, is a busy and eager man with questionable motives. Four years on, Bergman no longer works for the mysterious facility, when a visitor forces her to confront what she has been telling herself about her past.
Created by Sam Esmail, who also brought you Mr. Robot, this is mysterious sci-fi at its best. A haunting vibe, heart-stopping cinematography, and a slew of stellar supporting actors like Shea Whigham and Stephan Janes make Homecoming a gripping and breathtaking experience. With each episode clocking in at about 30 minutes, you will frequently be left hungry for more.
From Steven Spielberg, Munich is the sharp and thrilling depiction of Mossad agents on a mission to avenge the Munich Massacre, the killing of 11 Israeli Olympic team members at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Despite being based on real events, it’s a work of fiction. This allows the film to stand on clear yet nuanced grounds, focusing on the moral dilemmas that may rise for the secret agents and the perpetrators, now targets. The ensemble cast including Daniel Craig and Eric Bana allow Spielberg to deliver the film you can tell he wanted to make. A personal and striking effort.
What starts as an unsettling drama quickly morphs into a searing psychological thriller. The film, based on a play of the same title, tells the story of Tom, a young man who while attending his boyfriend’s funeral, stays with the grieving family unaware of his relationship with their son. During his stay, Tom becomes subject to the violent whims of his boyfriend’s brother.
The intense psychosexual dynamic that develops becomes a piercing examination of homophobia, masculinity, and violence. Dolan’s expert direction keeps a level of intensity that grips and never let’s go until the gorgeous closing sequence. At times brutal and cruel, Tom at the Farm may be a tough watch, but its portrait of simmering regressive violence speaks vividly and directly to our current moment.
Adam Driver, Annette Bening, and Jon Hamm are among the many recognizable faces of this star-packed political drama.
Driver, pictured above in his ‘I’m goofy but I will save the world’ signature stare 😍, plays Daniel J. Jones, an investigator working with the Senate. He is assigned to write a report (“the” report) about the CIA torture program post 9/11.
If you so much as liked Vice, the hit movie from earlier this year, you will love The Report. It covers similar grounds: incompetency, unclear intentions, confusion, etc; but in a way that is more to-the-point (which might make it feel dry to some). It also helps in understanding or getting a refresher on, how the Senate works and how organizations like the CIA interact with (bully) other branches of government.
I would almost go as far as to say that if you are a U.S. citizen, watching this movie, with its many goofy Adam Driver moments, is your civic duty.
Olivia Colman and Hugh Laurie (House) star in this espionage mini-series based on a John le Carré novel.
A quick mini-series that spans six episodes, it’s about a former soldier (Tom Hiddleston) who, while working as a night manager for a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, ends up getting hold of very sensitive information. He is then recruited by an intelligence officer (Olivia Colman) to bring down a corrupt businessman (Hugh Laurie.)
A highly-acclaimed TV show not to be missed by lovers of spy stories, John Le Carré films (A Most Wanted Man, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), or just anyone who appreciates excellent acting.
This crazy heist movie is told in a very original way. Because it's based on a true story, the movie (with actors and a story) is sometimes interrupted by the people it's about. The opening scene even reads: "this movie is not based on a true story, it is a true story". Two friends decide to rob their local library from rare books worth millions. They're driven by money but also by wanting something different than their monotonous everyday lives in Kentucky. The need for a change is a big theme in this movie, but the story and the way it's told never cease to be breathtakingly thrilling. American Animals stars amazing actors like Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk), Evan Peters (Kick-Ass), and many more; but perhaps equally as notable is the director: Bart Layton, who is fresh from his amazing 2012 sleeper-hit The Imposter.
You may have heard about this 2019 critic-favorite from clips like this one of a kid running to flee the movie theater during a screening. “little billy ran the f**k out the door”, the caption reads.
You will want to do the same. Recovering from losing her sister and her parents in a single incident, a young girl goes on a trip to Sweden to observe a ritual within a bizarre commune that occurs every 90 years. This cult’s idea of death and their traditions intersect with the girl’s grief to create unthinkable monstrosities.
Note: while some readers praise the movie for its depiction of anxiety, I highly recommend against watching Midsommar if you suffer from panic attacks.