The very best crime movies of 2022
With hard-boiled tales of revenge, murder mysteries, psychological thrillers, horror-tinged nightmares, comedies, TV spin-offs, real-life tales, comic book actioners and a story entirely set in the back room of a tailor’s shop, this run-down of the best crime movies of 2022 has a little bit of everything.
Here are our picks for the best stand-out crime films of the year. How many have you seen?
The best crime movies of 2022:
We start with that story entirely set in the back room of a tailor’s shop. Not the most exciting setting for a crime thriller, we can all agree on that. But this subtle gem – screenwriter Graham Moore’s directorial debut – creates an incredible tapestry with limited thread.
It all centres around Mark Rylance’s lead performance. A seasoned theatre actor, his thespian chops are on full show here in a gripping film that’s not unlike a play in its pacing, character number, limited setting and style.
Rylance is a talented but quiet British tailor (or ‘cutter’) who finds himself caught up with a mob of Chicago gangsters in the mid-1950s. But is he as quiet and unassuming as he appears?
Another biting horror thriller with a criminal premise, Fresh starts like a sweet romance and ends soaked in blood. Kidnapping, cannibalism and the modern dating scene may not seem natural bedfellows, but the subtle subtexts soon come together to create a biting social satire.
Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan help elevate Fresh from clever indie horror to one of the better – albeit more unpalatable – releases of the year.
See How They Run
In fifties London, plans for a movie adaptation of Agatha Christie’s iconic play The Mousetrap are thrown into jeopardy when the film’s director is murdered.
This slightly meta whodunit is both fun and funny, anchored by two very enjoyable lead performances from its stars Sam Rockwell and Saoirse Ronan. Shirley Henderson, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Tim Key and David Oyelowo round out an impressive supporting cast.
We have no problem featuring the first of Matt Reeves’ Batman films here in our round-up of the finest crimers of the year. Okay, so we all know that the source material is a comic book, but ignore the mask and cape and this is a straight-up detective tale. It’s also a brilliant one.
Robert Pattinson is immediately iconic in the lead, while Paul Dano creates a chillingly realistic Riddler. Colin Farrell provides a little levity as the Penguin, with Zoë Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright and John Turturro all excellent in support.
A huge box office smash, write The Batman off as a ‘just another comic book movie’ at your peril. This is modern noir done right.
Death on the Nile
After a rather long time hanging out in post-production hell due to Covid-19, Sir Kenneth Brannagh finally managed to see his second Poirot film released in cinemas and on streaming services and DVD this year.
The follow-up to Murder on the Orient Express is just as visually lush as its predecessor and features an equally impressive ensemble cast. Among those co-starring with director Branagh include Gal Gadot, Russell Brand, Sophie Okonedo, Annette Bening and Letitia Wright.
It’s steady filmmaking and has all the hallmarks of being a future Sunday afternoon TV staple.
US Office star B J Novak directs and stars in a smart little murder mystery with black comic overtones. Novak is Ben, a podcaster/journalist who takes it upon himself to investigate the unusual death of his casual girlfriend.
Its slow pace might not be to everyone’s tastes, but the comic elements and satirical notes more than make up for it. And Narcos’ Boyd Holbrook is always worth watching.
Critics decided that this erotic thriller from Adrian Lyne was rather poor – and we understand how it may sound it. 2022 isn’t really the time for the director behind Fatal Attraction and 9 & ½ Weeks to be releasing an ‘erotic thriller’, is it? But it works.
Okay, so this tale of Ben Affleck becoming the suspect in the disappearances of his wife Ana de Armas’ lovers is a little OTT, but it’s surprisingly classy and fun. Perhaps, in large part, to being based on a Patricia Highsmith novel.
Shades of Gone Girl loom large over Deep Water and while it’s not quite as good as David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s smash hit novel, it’s well worthy of your time.
Speak No Evil
If you like your evening’s entertainment bleak, full of anxiety, awkwardness and sudden, shocking violence, then the Danish psychological horror-crime film Speak No Evil is for you.
In it, two couples – one Danish, one Dutch – meet on holiday in Italy and become fast friends. But when the Danes accept an invite to their new pals’ house for a weekend in the rolling countryside of the Windmill-speckled Netherlands, things quickly go awry.
Whether you view it simply as a nihilistic thriller or a social satire, there’s an enormous amount to enjoy here, even if the final scenes will leave you reeling and feeling a little queasy.
Ray Donovan: The Movie
When Showtime announced that they weren’t going to commission an eighth season of their hugely popular crime drama Ray Donovan, fans were as shocked and upset as the creators. Without the various plot threads tied up, it felt like unfinished business for Liev Schreiber’s fixer and his dysfunctional friends and family.
After a petition by angry viewers, showrunner David Holland managed to get the network to agree to a feature film to write and present Ray’s final chapter. And it didn’t disappoint.
As with last year’s Sopranos spin-off The Many Saints of Newark, this won’t make a hugely satisfying watch for anyone unfamiliar with the show, but for viewers of Ray Donovan, this is an unmissable 100 minutes.
The Stranger is a dark, bleak and creeping fictionalised account of the undercover police sting operation that resulted in a successful prosecution in the real-life Daniel Morcombe murder investigation. And it’s extremely good – perhaps the best film to appear on Netflix all year.
Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris are both at the very top of their game here. The Stranger is unusual, ambiguous, unsettling and subdued. It sure ain’t much fun, but it is one of the finest Australian films of recent times.
There you have it – the best crime movies of 2022! Don’t see your favourite on our list? Let us know in the comments below…