15 Best Investigation Movies For The Detective In You 

We all like to play detectives once in a while. There is no better way than watching films about crime and investigation. 

If you fancy a good cinema sleuther, this list is the perfect thing you have been looking for. These films will have you on the edge of your seat with no idea what to expect, with a constant nudge to be ahead of the trail left by the filmmaker. 

Knives Out

Director: Rian Johnson

Casting: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katherine Langford

Year: 2019

Running time: 130 minutes

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Crime

Available on Amazon Prime and Apple TV+

This Rian Johnson-directed film follows a classic Agatha Christie type of whodunnit where the situation gets tense when the crime novelist of the Thombrey family, Harlan Thombrey (Christopher Plummer), dies mysteriously. The case is taken up by detective Benoit Blanc played by Daniel Craig, to unravel the killer and get to the truth. 

It gets difficult for Blanc to get to the truth when he finds out about the dysfunctional family of Harlan Thombrey. It’s his job now to get through all the lies and deceit to get to the ultimate killer, where stakes are high, and everybody is seemed to be a suspect. 

Se7en

Director: David Fincher

Casting: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley

Year: 1995

Running time: 127 minutes

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller 

Available on Amazon Prime

When a retiring and hopeless detective, William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), meets a newly transferred rookie detective, David Mills (Brad Pitt), Somerset decides to aid him on a final case. 

The case soon takes a turn, and they are faced with gruesome and grisly murders. The numbers keep going up, and soon a pattern occurs to make them believe it is serial killing. The killer, played by Kevin Spacey, targets people based on the principle of the seven deadly sins. 

Director David Fincher tries to paint a brutal and gory picture of a perfect crime tale whose ending is bound to astound the audience. 

The Nice Guys

Director: Shane Black

Casting: Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe, Angouire Rice, Matt Momer

Year: 2016

Running time: 116 minutes

Genre: Action, Comedy, Mystery 

Available on Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and Hulu

In 1977 Los Angeles, Holland March, a private detective, has tough luck keeping his career on the path. He meets Jackson Healy, played by Russell Crowe, by fate, who hurts people for his livelihood. 

They both are forced to partner up, keeping their differences aside, to find a young girl named Amelia (Margaret Qualley) when she disappears mysteriously. 

Investing in the case, they soon realise it would turn messy and take them to pretty dark places. They also find out that anyone who is involved with the case is turning up dead. 

Zodiac 

Director: David Fincher

Casting: Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Edwards

Year: 2007

Running time: 157 minutes

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery 

Available on Netflix, Amazon Prime 

The city of San Francisco was horrified by a serial killer called Zodiac in the late 60s and 70s. The city goes into the fear grip of the killer, so investigators, played by Mark Ruffalo and Anthony Edwards, along with two news reporters (Robert Downey Jr and Jake Gyllenhaal), embark on studying the killer’s behaviour and killing patterns. 

Soon they get deep into the patterns the killer leaves in his wake, which makes them obsessed with the case to learn the killer’s identity and give the deserved justice.

On the other hand, Zodiac manages to outplay them and get away every time, claiming more and more victims of his killing. He taunts them and their authorities with complex cyphers, cryptic messages, and phone calls to drag their sanity down. 

Sherlock Holmes 

Director: Guy Ritchie 

Casting: Robert Downey Jr., Rachel McAdams, Jude Law, Eddie Marsan

Year: 2009

Running time: 129 minutes

Genre: Adventure, Mystery, Thriller

Available on Netflix 

When a series of gruesome murders put London into chaos and terror, the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) with his partner Dr Watson (Jude Law) takes it upon themselves to find the killer. It doesn’t take them long enough to find the killer, Lord Blackwood, played by mark strong. 

Things turn for the worse when holmes fail to estimate Blackwood’s real intention. As a strong devotee and believer in the dark arts, Blackwood schemes something much bigger. Everything goes accordingly to him, and Sherlock plays right into his plans.

Shutter Island 

Director: Martin Scorsese 

Casting: Leonardo De Caprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams

Year: 2010

Running time: 139 minutes

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Drama

Available on Hulu and Netflix 

Teddy Daniels (Leonardo De Caprio) and his new partner (Mark Ruffalo) arrive on a bizarre and remote island where a fortress-like asylum is located. The asylum is home to the country’s most insane and dangerous criminals. Teddy and his partner, the two us marshals, are tasked with solving the case of an escape of a brilliant murderess. 

The woman disappeared from a locked room without any plausible clues, making the two marshals interrogate some of the facility’s patients. Soon they learn about bizarre events happening inside the asylum walls. Teddy, curious to find out more about the place, finds himself in a position where he has to confront his dark past to escape the island alive. 

Get Out 

Director: Jordan Peele 

Casting: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Stephen Root

Year: 2017

Running time: 104 minutes

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller 

Available on Amazon Prime

After achieving the meet-with-parents milestone in the relationship of Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) and Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), they decide to go on the weekend gateway with Rose’s parents, Missy and Dean. 

Chris tries to accommodate the family’s behaviour and nervously deals with their daughter’s interracial relationship. 

As the weekend progresses, he makes disturbing discoveries that lead him to the truth, which he would never have expected. 

Gone Girl 

Director: David Fincher

Casting: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

Year: 2014

Running time: 149 minutes 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery 

Available on Amazon Prime and Hulu 

This film is based on a novel by Gillian Flynn. The plot shows a New York-based college professor and writer, Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, and his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), seemingly having a perfect marriage. 

Their perfect marriage starts to unravel dark secrets when Amy disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. Nick soon becomes the primary suspect in the investigation. The interrogation pressure and news frenzy crumble their union to the ground, with questions arising on the true identities of Nick and Amy. 

The Lincoln Lawyer

Director: Brad Furman 

Casting: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillipe, Josh Lucas

Year: 2011

Running time: 118 minutes

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Available on Hulu and HBO max

Mick Haller, played by Matthew McConaughey, is a defense attorney working out of his Lincoln sedan. He spends most of the cases dealing with low-life crooks and bottom feeders. He is taken away by surprise when a case of a lifetime approaches him. 

He gets the job to defend a playboy from the charge of attempted murder; what mick thinks of as an easy case to solve turns out to be much darker. 

Nightcrawler

Director: Dan Gilroy

Casting: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton 

Year: 2014

Running time: 117 minutes

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery 

Available on Apple TV+

Louis Bloom, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, is a Los Angeles resident who survives, making a livelihood from petty thefts. He takes on the career of a cameraman and goes in the night to investigate and capture the city’s gruesome crimes. 

When a news director (Rene Russo) hires him to boost her station’s ratings, Louis goes to extreme lengths for the perfect crime shot. 

Enola Holmes 

Director: Harry Bradbeer

Casting: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavil, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter 

Year: 2020

Running time: 123 minutes 

Genre: Adventure, Crime, Thriller

Available on Netflix 

Enola Holmes, played by Millie Bobby Brown, embarks on a journey to find out about her missing mother. But to do that, she has to evade her genius brother and famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, through the streets of London. 

While on the search, Enola also gets spiralled into a case of a runway lord and his family, whom she decides to help. 

Us

Director: Jordan Peele

Casting: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elizabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker 

Year: 2019

Running time: 116 minutes 

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Available on Amazon Prime

Adelaide Wilson, played by Lupita Nyong’o, and her husband and children return to her childhood beachfront home. Trauma haunts her, making her believe something bad will happen to them. 

Soon enough, her fears become real when four masked strangers break into the house, forcing the Wilsons to fight to survive. They are horrified to learn the truth when the masks are taken off, and they see the strangers as exact look alikes as them. 

Death on the Nile 

Director: Kenneth Branagh 

Casting: Tom Bateman, Gal Gadot, Ali Fazal, Annette Benning

Year: 2022

Running time: 127 minutes

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery 

Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime 

Hercule Poirot, a famous Belgian detective, travels to Egypt to spend a deserved vacation. Soon after stumbling on an old friend, he is again pulled into a murder mystery involving wicked plots and deceits on the bank of the glamorous Nile. 

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

Director: David Fincher

Casting: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Steven Berkoff

Year: 2011

Running time: 158 minutes 

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Drama

Available on Hulu

Mikael Blomkvist is a disgraced financial reporter who gets a chance to redeem himself by solving a disappearance case. With the help of a hacker, Lisbeth Salandar (Rooney Mara), he is tasked to find a wealthy girl who disappeared 40 years ago. 

The Girl on the Train 

Director: Tate Taylor 

Casting: Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans 

Year: 2016

Running time: 112 minutes

Genre: Thriller 

Available on Amazon Prime 

Rachel Watson, played by Emily Blunt, is a recent divorcee who watches the life of seemingly perfect couples on her way to work every day. She gets into an investigation of a missing person when she discovers something shocking. 

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