We start the Top 7. You finish the Top 10.
Few genres have stood the test of time quite like the mystery. From the early days of literature, the concept of intrigue and the unknowable has piqued the interest of men and women alike.
Even one of the most famed detectives of literature, Sherlock Holmes, has graduated from the written word to the silver screen. In honor of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy we're counting down the TOP 7 most memorable crime-solving movies.
7. Seven (1995)
Recap: A rookie detective (Brad Pitt) and an aging detective close to retirement (Morgan freeman) team up to take down a brutal serial killer who is killing in the fashion of the seven deadly sins. Reason: Anybody who's actually seen this movie knows why this one makes the cut. Pun absolutely intended. I just have four words for you... "What's in the box?" Even if it wasn't for the incredibly memorable ending, director David Fincher's gritty style and unsettling content make for an unbeatable crime drama.
6. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Recap: A case of mistaken identity lands unassuming Slevin (Josh Hartnett) in the laps of two feuding crime lords (Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley). Reason: Lucky Number Slevin has always been one of those vastly underrated crime flicks. Maybe it was the marketing, but Lucky Number Slevin never really got the reception it deserved. One part crime caper, with a dash of noir, and some oddball humor make for a surprisingly rewarding movie-going experience.
5. Brick (2005)
Recap: A high school student turned private detective (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is drawn into the seedy underworld of his high school crime ring when the love of his life disappears. Reason: Rian Johnson's directorial debut is one of those movies that's almost too clever for its own good. The fast-talking, noir style turned a lot of people off, but for me, it just makes for a charming and innovative take on the high school film. Anybody who's been through the hell of high school can attest to the fact that sometimes it all seems like a dark underworld, but Johnson was the only one who took it there with a clever spin and a fresh-faced cast.
4. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Recap: A booze-hound detective (Bob Hoskins) teams up with Roger Rabbit (Charles Fleischer), a toon, in an effort to clear Rabbit's name when he is framed for murder. Reason: Maybe it's nostalgia that got this one on the list, but there's something unforgettable about this movie. The combination of live-action and animation was so enchanting as a child and even at 24, the movie still holds up pretty well. The best part of Roger Rabbit is that when you watch it as a kid, it's this completely otherworldly experience, but as an adult, you can't help but realize just what a dark and sometimes disturbing movie it is. For young and old alike, Who Framed Roger Rabbit has something to offer pretty much all of its audience.
3. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Recap: A shooting at the Nite Owl Cafe exposes the crime and corruption of L.A. and its police force in the 1950s. Reason: Director Curtis Hanson's take on the James Ellroy novel of the same name is a truly extraordinarily entertaining take on the noir genre. Filled with stand-out performances, including Kim Basinger in an Oscar-winning role, L.A. Confidential is everything any crime movie fan could ask for. It has the right look, the right feel, and a stunning conclusion that channels the gritty exploits of noir legends like Mike Hammer and Sam Spade.
2. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Recap: A petty thief turned actor, Harry, (Robert Downey Jr.) and a detective, Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) find things spiraling out of control when Harry's childhood sweetheart, Harmony Lane (Michelle Monaghan) turns up seeking his help in solving her sister's suicide. Reason: This is another one of those underrated noir comedies that did things so well. It is suspenseful enough to keep the hardboiled fans at bay, but it has enough lighthearted and sincere humor to keep others interested. It's this duality and the film's earnest sincerity in staying true to his noir roots that make Kiss Kiss Bang Bang one of those crime capers that shouldn't be missed.
1. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Recap: Private detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) finds himself caught in a web of murder and deceit when he is hired by a beautiful woman (Mary Astor) to find her sister while another man (Peter Lorre) hires him to find a statuette of a bird. Reason: Sure, it's sort of to be expected that The Maltese Falcon would make number one, but just look at the previous entries on the list. Just about every one of them can be linked, directly or indirectly, to The Maltese Falcon. The film is truly a game-changer when it comes to the crime-solving genre. The Maltese Falcon earned its place on the list by the wave of films it inspired alone, but the well-crafted and engaging mystery don't make matters any worse.