1. Bad Genius (2017)
Cheating on school tests is a common theme in teen sitcoms, but this Thai film elevates it to a high-stakes heist movie. Bad Genius, which has been overlooked outside of Thailand, deserves to be recognized as a cult classic for its intelligent script and Nattawut Gopipriya’s direction. Gopipriya manages to make the act of answering test questions at a desk as thrilling as stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre by rappelling in.
2. I Care A Lot (2021)
It’s understandable if you didn’t know that Rosamund Pike won a Golden Globe for her role in, I Care a Lot, a jet-black comedy-thriller. However, you should definitely watch the film, particularly for Pike’s deliciously wicked performance as a con artist who specializes in swindling seniors, until she defrauded the mother of the wrong gangster.
3. Margin Call (2011)
High finance has not been this exciting since Wall Street. In his directorial debut, JC Chandro expertly maintains a high level of tension throughout a night of crisis as a Lehman Brothers-like bank collapses and takes a diverse group of well-developed characters down with it. Jeremy Irons’ commanding and manipulative performance as the CEO, who demands to be spoken to “as you would a two-year-old or a golden retriever,” is worth the watch alone. This thriller is refreshing in that it always speaks to the audience as adults.
4. Gerald’s Game (2017)
5. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)
Melanie Lynskey, known for her role in Yellowjackets, gives a powerful and acidic performance in this darkly comedic thriller, which has a gender-flipped and rural twist on the Michael Douglas revenge film Falling Down. After her home is robbed, nursing assistant Ruth Kumke (Lynskey) teams up with the neighborhood oddball (Elijah Wood) to find out who stole her possessions and allows her pent-up frustration with her life to come to a head.
6. Donnie Brasco (1997)
Before he became known for his on and off-screen appearances as a fashionable pirate, Johnny Depp gave a standout performance as a cop going undercover to bust a mob boss, played by Al Pacino. Similar to Keanu Reeves in Point Break and Paul Walker in Fast and the Furious, Depp’s character begins to develop feelings – whether they be friendly, familial, or something more – for the criminal he is supposed to bring down.
7. Calibre (2018)
This indie thriller, which can be described as Deliverance in tweed, follows the consequences of a shooting trip in the Highlands that goes horribly wrong. Jack Lowden gives a strong performance as a man whose arrogant friend gets him into a lot of bloody trouble in a close-knit Scottish community. The forest setting serves as an effective backdrop for the ensuing cat-and-mouse game.
8. The Gray Man
The Gray Man has a plot that may seem complex but is actually very straightforward. Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling) is released from prison and becomes a CIA assassin, known as the “gray man,” as part of an agreement to have his murder sentence expunged. After 20 years of carrying out assassinations without questioning them, Gentry, now known as Sierra Six, discovers evidence that suggests his boss (Reeg-Jean Page) is up to something nefarious (even more so than assassination). Six goes on the run, and the CIA sends a ruthless bounty hunter, Lloyd (Chris Evans), to track him down. The two engage in a cat-and-mouse chase as they move throughout Europe trying to kill each other.