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7 crime movies you shouldn’t miss in 2021

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The year 2021 will not, unfortunately, be remembered as a particularly great year for cinema. It won’t be for the want of trying, though. The movie making industry is packed full of creatives who live to make films and, of course, executives who love to make money off them.

Global pandemics aren’t great for business. The world of film has taken just as big a punch in the gut as everyone else. So we may be forced to narrow our scopes a little next year and look at more independent movies, seek out foreign films, revisit classics. We might have to get smart to satiate our cinematic needs.

That said, Hollywood’s not exactly on its knees. There are unreleased films in the can, waiting to be seen. Some were even shot under Covid restrictions. 2021 will see some top drawer crime films come out, just not quite at the rate that we’re all used to. But, hey… we’re all pretty spoiled anyway, right?

Here’s our pick of 2021’s new crime movies you shouldn’t miss.

New crime movies you shouldn’t miss in 2021:

Denzel Washington will star in The Little Things, one of the most exciting new crime movies being released in 2021

The Little Things

We like the sound of this first one. The Little Things has a real mid-90s thriller sound about it.

Denzel Washington is Joe ‘Deke’ Deacon, a burned-out but intuitive deputy sheriff who teams up with Rami Malek’s LA Sheriff’s Department hotshot Jim Baxter to track down a deranged but wily serial killer, played by Jared Leto. Deke doesn’t ‘play it by the book’, much to his new partner’s chagrin – naturally.

John Lee Hancock (The Highwaymen, The Founder) is on directing duties for this old school-sounding film that’s not exactly the most original premise, but with a cast like that… we’ll be tuning in. And ‘tuning in’ is the right phrase too – Warner Brothers plan to release it digitally on the same day it hits cinemas.

Expected release? January

Jason Statham will star in Wrath of Men, one of the new crime movies being released in 2021

Wrath of Man

Guy Ritchie seems to have got his taste back for his unique brand of sweary ‘get the lads together’ action-crime films, after more than a decade spent putting together flicks like Sherlock Holmes, The Man from UNCLE and Aladdin. Last year’s The Gentlemen was a lot of fun. Here’s hoping his remake of the 2004 French film Cash Truck is similar.

For its star, the Snatch director has cast old pal Jason Statham for their fourth project together. Scott Eastwood, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan and Post Malone fill out the rest of the guns ‘n’ puns male cast. Expect heists, car chases, explosions and Jason Statham saying about three lines.

Expected release? January

Bob Odenkirk stars in Nobody, one of the new crime movies coming out in 2021


If you think that Liam Neeson pivoting to hard man action roles in his later years was odd, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. 2021’s next unlikely tough guy? How about Bob Odenkirk? Yup, that’s right. Bob from Mr Show. Saul Goodman from Better Call Saul.

The 58-year-old actor and comedian isn’t exactly a natural choice to play a character that bounces heads off walls and empties clips into corridors full of Russian henchmen, is he?

The premise makes sense, though. Odenkirk’s Hutch Mansell isn’t supposed to be a man of violence. At least at the beginning, anyway. When burglars raid his family home and he freezes, choosing not to fight back, his friends, family and local community, rather unfairly, decide to mock him. He’s a defeated man until his neighbours’ home is targeted by the same crew and Hutch goes on a loco killing spree.

In a plot move not unlike that of David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence – and every Liam Neeson film since 2005 – it turns out that our meek main man is actually a supremely well-trained harbinger of death. A Saul Badman, if you like.

Expected release? February

Image from TV series The Sopranos, which will be getting a prequel movie in 2021

The Many Saints of Newark

The Sopranos is up there among the greatest television dramas ever made. Perhaps the very best when it comes to the crime genre. Can its movie version live up to the TV series? Well, this year we’ll find out.

Of course, with the actor who played Tony Soprano having died in 2013, six years after the end of the HBO series, this project was never going to be a sequel. It is, instead, a prequel.

In a move that promises some nice continuity – not to mention a pleasing visual likeness – the young version of New Jersey mob boss Soprano will be played by James Gandofini’s son, Michael.

The action is set to take place in 1967, during the Newark Riots. The show’s creator David Chase has written the thing, so it all looks set to be loyal to the series. “The movie will deal with the tensions between blacks and whites at the time, and Tony Soprano will be part of this, but as a kid.”

Alessandro Nivola, Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga and Corey Stoll support the younger Gandofini in his first major film role.

Expected release? March

Patricia Highsmith's Deep Water will hit the big screen in 2021 starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas

Deep Water

Patricia Highsmith was one of the finest thriller writers to ever pick up a pen. Her work has been faithfully adapted for the silver screen on plenty of occasions, leading to some of the finest crime films of all time. As fans of Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train or Anthony Minghella’s brilliant 1999 The Talented Mr Ripley can testify.

Highsmith’s fifth book, her 1957 work Deep Water, is the latest to make its way into film form. Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas star as Vic and Melinda Van Allen, a couple trapped in a loveless and increasingly spiteful marriage. The pair begin a deadly series of mind games that starts with extramarital affairs and ends in murder.

Early word is that Deep Water is due to be in the vein of the ‘erotic thrillers’ of the ‘80s and ‘90s. With Adrian Lyne of Fatal Attraction, 9½ Weeks and Indecent Proposal fame in the director’s chair, it’s in reliable hands.

Expected release? August

Daniel Craig in No Time to Die, one of the new crime movies being released in 2021

No Time to Die

Daniel Craig’s final Bond film has been shunted more times than a Skegness dodgem. Originally due to be released in spring 2020, it’s been moved several times since then. Now it looks as though a date has been firmly established. It’ll be an October 2021 release.

The world will either be full of unbearable anticipation by the time No Time to Die is finally released or a bit jaded and nonplussed after the heavy delays. We’re imagining, due to the relative paucity of choice – and the fact that it’s a Bond film – it’ll be the former.

For the 25th 007 film, Bohemian Rhapsody’s Oscar winner Rami Malek is the villain Safin, while Léa Seydoux (returning as Dr Madeleine Swann from Spectre), Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) and Knives Out‘s Ana de Armas co-star alongside Bond’s usual colleagues Ben Whishaw (Q), Ralph Fiennes (M) and Naomie Harris (Moneypenny).

Expected release? October

Leonardo DiCaprio will star in Killers of the Flower Moon, one of the new crime movies we can't wait to see in 2021

Killers of the Flower Moon

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Charles Brandt’s I Heard You Paint Houses, eventually released as The Irishman, was long rumoured, discussed, hyped, delayed and anticipated. His follow-up, a film version of the 2017 non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, however, has flown very much under the radar.

Filming is yet to get underway, but – provided the movie avoids the post-production hell that The Irishman suffered – which, given there’s not tens of millions of dollars’ worth of CGI due to be added, seems unlikely – we can expect a release at the end of 2021.

Scorsese has primarily used two acting heavyweights in his career: Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio. This film will star both.

The story follows the real-life murders of members of the Native American Osage tribe in the 1920’s, after oil is discovered on their land. The newly-formed and assembled FBI are called in and they uncover a truly disturbing conspiracy. It’s a little known story, but one which is a serious blight on American history.

The Taxi Driver and Wolf of Wall Street director is claiming he’s approaching it like a western. With a rumoured budget of over $200m, it’s due to be some western.

Expected release? Winter

Are you looking forward to any new crime movies in 2021 that escaped our attention here? Let us know in the comments below…

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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