Not long back we gave you our breakdown of some of 2016’s very best crime flicks. Proof, we think, that there really were some excellent films thrown our way over the last twelve months. But while it’s always nice to doff a cap towards the hard-nosed crime thrillers we’ve already enjoyed, it’s always a lot more fun to look forward and get excited about what’s to come.
So here are our picks for the movies to keep an eye out for in 2017…
Live By Night
The year gets off to a storming start with Ben Affleck’s fourth film as a director. His fantastic debut, Gone Baby Gone, stunned audiences on its release. And for his latest, Affleck again goes back to a Dennis Lehane novel for inspiration (Live by Night was the 2013 Edgar Award Novel of the Year). This 20s and 30s-set gangster movie sees the new Batman taking the lead role as well. He plays Joe Coughlin, son of a Boston police captain who shirks the family business and decides to turn his hand to the murky world of organised crime and bootlegging in particular. For anyone worried about Ben Affleck’s ability to star in and direct a crime film, we subtly nod you in the direction of The Town, his impeccable 2010 armed robbery flick.
We look forward to this weird-sounding film with hope more than expectation. Why? Well, on paper it sounds an intriguing concept. But in reality? Well, it’s directed by the Bernard Matthews of Hollywood, M. Night Shyamalan – a director responsible for more than his fair share of turkeys. For every Sixth Sense there’s a Last Airbender. For every Unbreakable there’s a Happening. Still, this tale – again starring James McAvoy – follows a man with dissociative personality disorder named Kevin who abducts three teenage girls. As his 24 separate personalities slowly begin to show themselves, things take a turn for the macabre. Early reviews appear to indicate a Hitchcockian level of drama and suspense. Maybe Mr. Shyamalan’s come good again. Here’s hoping.
The Coldest City
When the Berlin Wall fell, it wasn’t a overstatement to say that world politics and superpower alliances were shaken to their core. Particularly the world of intelligence, which went into paranoid meltdown. This spy thriller sees John Wick co-director and former stunt double David Leitch taking on his first solo director’s credit. He’s adapting Anthony Johnston’s graphic novel about a female MI6 agent taking on a ruthless espionage network full of double agents. Charlize Theron takes the lead, with James McAvoy and John Goodman no doubt providing able support. Cold war films can often be, like the actual ‘war’ itself, non starters. But we’ve high hopes for this potentially twisting and turning spy thriller.
Bourne Identity director Doug Liman takes on the story of Barry Seal, a drug-smuggling pilot who got caught up in some of the shadier parts of US/Colombian/Nicaraguan relations in the 1970s and 80s. Seal, played here by Tom Cruise, was helping run drugs in North America for a certain Pablo Escobar and his Medellin Cartel. Until the DEA turned him and he began working for the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in American history (known to most people as ‘Iran/Contra’). This film’s been in the pipeline for some time, held up after the murdered Barry Seal’s family sued Universal over production. It’s a murky chapter in US intelligence history, no doubt – let’s hope American Made throws some light on it.
Based on the Jo Nesbø book of the same name, this Norway-set detective thriller sees Irish charmer Michael Fassbender take on the role of Nesbo’s popular Harry Hole. A classic ‘loose cannon’ type, Hole (pronounced ‘Ho-leh’) was always destined for the big screen and with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s Tomas Alfredson in the director’s chair, we’ve high hopes for this. Rebeccea Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Toby Jones, Chloë Sevigny, JK Simmons and even Val Kilmer (remember him?) bulk out the cast.
Murder on the Orient Express
Another adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most popular novels has just gone back into production, a full 32 years after we last saw Hollywood use Hercule Poirot’s train sleuthing for a movie. This time, Kenneth Branagh takes on the Belgian detective, as well as directing duties. Just like Sidney Lumet’s 1974 version, this one is rammed full of big names… Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dame Judi Dench, Michael Peña, Derek Jacobi and Penelope Cruz are all there to make Branagh’s Poirot suspicious. This should be a classy affair surely worthy of a cinema ticket.
So there you go. There’s plenty to get our teeth into next year. Those are the six that stand out to us, but we’ll no doubt be treated to a few hidden gems along the way. And, as ever, you can follow another year of crime film treats right here…
Are there any other films you’re looking forward to in 2017? Let us know in the comments below!