Thrillers are most definitely my favourite film genre. There is something about the complicated storylines, a twist or secret that get revealed and the loyalty the audience has for the underdog that has me thinking about the crafted puzzle well after I have finished viewing the film.
The Departed (2006)
Dir: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo De Caprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson
This film will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The story revolves around two cops who never officially meet as officers. One of them is corrupt while the other goes deep undercover to bring down the gang that the other officer is snitching for.
The tension is built through the “almost-chance” meetings between the two officers where they risk finding out each other secrets. The protagonist (Billy played by De Caprio) is the underdog and the audience roots for him to succeed. In the end, he fails and succeeds… but I will let you watch it and find out how.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Dir: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
Set in Texas and the borders of Mexico, No Country for Old Men follows a bounty hunter, Moss who stumbles upon the aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. Instead of reporting it to the police he takes the drug money and runs. On his trail is a serial killer, Chigurh and a Texas Sheriff, Bell. Bell is following Chigurh, Chigurh is following Moss. The film’s tension is built by Moss avoiding and outrunning both.
Dir: Michael Apted
Cast: Jennifer Lopez and Billy Campbell
Swept up in a fairy tale dream, a waitress meets a man who is too good to be true. They fall in love, they wed, move into the perfect home and begin to start a little family. Until he starts acting strangely. She confronts him about her suspicions of him having an affair (which he doesn’t deny) and he hits her. The domestic violence continues until she finds the courage to runaway. Of course he hunts her. She becomes the underdog that you begin to root for. I will let you watch it to see how it ends. It is a film where she must empower herself in order to protect.
Dir: Andrew Niccol
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law
Set in the near future where genetically designed babies are the norm, Gattaca follows the journey of a natural-born invalid Vincent. Vincent as a child had a high probability of developing disorders because of his natural birth and had to compete with his brother who was genetically designed to be healthy and stronger.
Plagued by low expectation, Vincent grows up and leaves his family to pursue his impossible dreams of going into space. He takes on the identity of a valid who was paralyzed in a sporting accident in order to reach his dreams. The thrill comes from Vincent hiding his true identity and almost being caught.
Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
Dir: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen
You should probably watch Volume 1 to get an understanding of the back story. The bride continues on her vengeance to kill her former boss and lover, Bill. She becomes the underdog through her tragic history and almost being killed by professional assassins multiple times throughout the film. Just when you think that she will not succeed she manages to survive. What I love about these films is the comic book/film noir style and of course the soundtrack!
Now, there are many thrillers I have missed out on so feel free to share your top picks in the comments below!