Cartel: A gripping political crime thriller with an incredible twist

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100 thrillers to see before you die

Nothing can be trusted and nothing stays still for long in this slick, excessive and hugely influential paranoid thriller. As commuter David Mann Dennis Weaver is randomly targeted by an unseen trucker, Spielberg utilises the isolated location and universal fear of the unknown to deliver a tense David and Goliath-esque thriller. Sniffy, but — with hindsight — dead right.

The thrill of his revolution, however phony, endures. One is one of the best thrillers of all time, the other stars Steven Seagal. Rebecca De Mornay is suitably unhinged as the nanny wreaking bloody havoc on the family she believes responsible for the death of her husband and unborn child. With Lemming to follow, director Dominik Moll looked peerless for a brief spell in the early s. No cliffhangers or races-against-the-clock here.

No beheadings either. The Headless Woman unfolds in a state of foggy concussion, with the facts hanging tantalisingly out of reach. Echoes of They Drive by Night and The Wages of Fear reverberate around this testosterone-fuelled study of the risks taken by pittance-paid truckers. Seething with macho resentment, Stanley Baker leads an exceptional cast of British acting stalwarts including Sean Connery and Patrick McGoohan who ably square up to the reckless action sequences and no-nonsense realism.

Someone is sending them surveillance videos of their Paris apartment. High and Low , set in s Yokohama, offers a true test of nobility. The adventure lies in seeing which way a good man will turn, and whether he can retain his goodness, despite its absence around him. A race against the clock. The final shootout romps through the town, leaving a trail of burned out barns and panicked horses in its wake.

A psychopath takes two friends captive after they offer him a ride, tormenting them mentally and turning them against each other, on a trip across the Mexican border. Inspired by the story of spree killer Billy Cook, The Hitch-hiker is a brutally chilling movie, and the first film noir to be directed by a woman, former actor Ida Lupino. The girl cried wolf, the pack turned on its own.

A textbook example of the all-star conspiracy thriller. Director and co-writer Erik Skjoldbjaerg expertly utilises his atmospheric Norwegian location for this tense murder mystery. Stellan Skarsgard is Swedish murder investigator Jonas Engstrom, who, struggling to cope with the 24 hours of daylight, makes a terrible mistake that has dramatic implications on the case. Christopher Nolan helmed an English language remake in A veteran Italian star of spaghetti westerns, Gian Maria Volonte plays a nasty, calculating police chief in this vicious satire of police corruption.

When the chief kills his mistress, he leaves a trail of clues in his wake to see if he can actually get arrested for his crime. Petri and Volonte shared a leftist sensibility, and here they work to ferociously indict the endemic hypocrisy of the Italian powers-that-be. Due for an imminent remake, Ittefaq — shot by Yash Chopra in 28 days as a distraction from a postponed project — was not typical Bollywood. It opts for sleuthy fun over noirish brooding every time, fired up by a feverish Rajesh Khanna performance that kickstarted his career.

Vidya Balan — who already had a strong track record of female-centric works — turns Kolkata upside-down as a pregnant woman searching for her husband in the wake of a terrorist attack. Ambiguity is the name of the game in the first of Alan J.

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In Klute , he combines old-timey noir tropes and a thoroughly liberated attitude towards sex in the story of a high-class call girl Jane Fonda who helps a careworn detective Donald Sutherland to solve a mysterious homicide. Set during a weekend sailing trip, it claustrophobically exploits its setting to expose the paranoia, cruelty and folly of a middle-aged sportswriter seeking to impress his wife by humiliating a teenage student.

In this pre-war Hitchcock thriller , Margaret Lockwood is a tourist crossing Europe by train who suddenly notices that one of her travelling companions, an eccentric old lady, is missing. None of the other passengers recall having seen her friend before. Is she going mad, or is there a wider conspiracy at work? Tierney is Laura, a beautiful Madison Avenue advertising executive. When she is found dead, the detective investigating her murder Dana Andrews becomes the latest man to fall in love with her, and to be betrayed by her.

A paranoid New York murder mystery with a twist… in the middle. The set-up is that of classic film noir: a wealthy husband, a conniving wife and a criminal lover willing to do her spouse in. He counters the jumpy suspense of the situation with percussive cuts and a celebrated, sensual jazz score by Miles Davis. This realistic depiction of German Democratic Republic-era spy tactics on civilians and the trauma it caused is a poignant character study as well as a thriller.

Taken with the dismal settings of East Germany and its grey-green colour palette, this is a thriller of unusual historical specificity. An inaction thriller , set entirely on the drive from Birmingham to London. Ivan Locke Tom Hardy has bunked off a job laying foundations to attend the birth of his baby, conceived during an extramarital affair. Absolutely riveting. As The Avenger slaughters blonde women in foggy London, a landlady suspects that her genteel tenant, Ivor Novello , has a dark and terrible secret.

That she is embroiled in a plot to murder him adds a level of double-crossing intrigue to an already powerful emotional thriller. Peter Lorre gives an unforgettable, humane performance as a child killer stalking Berlin. His crimes are presented elliptically, but Lang lingers on the hysteria surrounding them, and the epic police manhunt. For a film with themes drilled into its times, The Manchurian Candidate flopped surprisingly hard on release. Frank Sinatra plays Captain Bennett Marco, on the trail of a platoon-mate, who, when triggered by the queen of diamonds playing card, becomes a mindless killing machine.

The idea was insidious. Mind control has commandeered the plots of everything from the Bourne franchise to Zoolander since. With no ability to create short-term memories, he tries to outfox his broken recall in order to find her killer. Their incompetence and brutality supplies black comedy, which mutates into an indictment of s South Korean nationalism, then fades finally into a mute fatalism that scars each protagonist.

Ray Milland steps out of an asylum and into a whole heap of trouble in this delirious espionage thriller. In the topsy-turvy setting of London during the Blitz completely imagined on Hollywood soundstages , cakes conceal microfilm, suitcases conceal bombs, and doorframes and windows constrain the characters in a dread world where nothing is as it seems.

One of them made the end of the road the end of the world. Harry Anthony Edwards falls for Julie Mare Winningham at an exhibition about the extinction of the dinosaurs. Then, as suddenly as it might happen in real life, nuclear war breaks out.

The bombs start falling. Another extinction begins. Harry and Julie try to outrun the inevitable. Combining searing social realism, melodrama and explosive set-pieces, this is a giddying snapshot of the poverty, crime, corruption and violence debilitating Mexican society. The most dangerous game is man, as heinous huntsman Count Zaroff discovers when he sets his sights upon island castaways Joel McCrea and Fay Wray.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom like a malignant, more damaged version of the obsessive cartoonist he portrayed in Zodiac Bloom is a thief, a morally questionable opportunist and a shrewd camera op with a nose for what the TV stations require to really excite — and scare — their viewers. Set in a remote region of western Spain, The Night of the Sunflowers adopts a Rashomon-like structure to unravel its story of a rape and the complicated aftermath from various perspectives.

On a crowded sleeper train to Hel the Baltic resort, not the hot place , two strangers — one of whom may be a murderer — are forced to share a compartment. Beaten, arrested and targeted by a low-flying crop-duster plane, he finds comfort only in the arms of Eva-Marie Saint , a characteristically cool Hitchcock blonde. Robert Newton stars as Dr Clive Riordan, whose discovery that his wife is cheating on him pushes him to extreme action.

Though tame by modern standards, excellent performances and a chilling atmosphere ensure this still packs a punch. The big scenes — the hammer fight, the octopus gobble — have become iconic. The rest is a horrific fable about violent trauma and its fallout. A rare blend of immersive action, intriguing deception and romantic tribulations combine in striking fashion as the eponymous baker tries to stay one step ahead of the Israeli security services.


  1. Bestselling Series.
  2. The Cartel.
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Essential viewing for fans of pugnacious, politically charged cinema. Co-written by and starring Billy Bob Thornton , alongside Bill Paxton , this neatly packaged thriller from director Carl Franklin transplants western sensibilities into a modern American small town. Paxton is the ambitious young sheriff preparing to head off a gang of violent criminals on the run from the LAPD. Events unfold as a masterclass in slow-burning tension.

After stops in Bloomsbury and Barcelona, the globe-trotting intrigue culminates in a devastating endgame in Andalusia.

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Philippe bullies Tom, and in return Tom plots to kill him and steal his identity. James Stewart plays the convalescent with a broken leg who, in his boredom, takes to spying on his neighbours across the way. Before long he uncovers a murder — the ultimate gift for any curtain twitcher. In this peerless, female-led film noir , a California housewife Joan Bennett is forced to hide a dead body for her troubled teen daughter — and then defend her family from the blackmail threats of a sinister stranger James Mason.

This impeccable heist movie, directed by American Jules Dassin on a tiny budget, is an enjoyably gritty French film noir in which four audacious criminals break into a high-end Paris jewellery store. This could easily have been another thick-eared Cannon Films actioner. But, drawing inspiration from a screenplay originally drafted by Akira Kurosawa , director Andrei Konchalovsky uses the locomotive hurtling through the frozen Alaskan wastes to intensify the battle of wits between escaped prisoners Jon Voight and Eric Roberts and sadistic warden John P.

In only his second US-set thriller , Hitchcock took evident glee in bringing a sociopath into the heart of a sweet-as-pie family home. Ethel Barrymore and Dorothy McGuire excel, while Siodmak uses shadows, canted angles and thunder-cracks to send gothic chills through the deep-focus visuals. Richard Burton played Alec Leamas, a British spy looking to devastate the East German intelligence services while pretending to defect. People are assets, running through a game-plan drawn up by anonymous men in high places.

Under blue skies and beside a glistening lake, gay men meet for casual sex over a long, idle summer. Befriending Henri, Franck is meanwhile blindsided with desire for handsome Michel, but there are signs of trouble in paradise: talk of a killer on the loose, or something in the water. As subtle in mood and character as it is sexually frank, Stranger by the Lake makes most Tinseltown erotic thrillers look prehistoric by comparison.

In this taut, short and inventive early home-invasion thriller , Lois Weber masterfully juggles three planes of action. A woman played by Weber herself and her baby are trapped in a lonely house as a menacing tramp circles the property, brandishing a knife. A thrill ride, a period piece and a showcase for the spirit of a city.

Lady Vanishes-worthy intrigue ensues, amid a thrifty depiction of a nation on the verge of civil war. John Kennedy. Together they make the shock discovery that their university campus is the epicentre of a snuff-movie ring. Off he goes on the run, fleeing into a shabby, brutal world where the real killer moves on with his plan to rid London of undesirables. Featuring a gruff James Caan as a veteran safecracker, Thief is a twisty, stylish affair.

The film twists and turns, yo-yos from the top of a ferris wheel to the sewers below. Graham Greene wrote the screenplay and a golden rule of the genre: the thriller thrives in a moral hinterland. Politics and Prose at Union Market. Description The New York Times bestselling second novel in the explosive Power of the Dog series—an action-filled look at the drug trade that takes you deep inside a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and bloody revenge. Ex-DEA agent Art Keller passes his days in a monastery, having lost everything to his thirty-year blood feud with the drug lord.

Then Barrera escapes. As the carnage of the drug war reaches surreal new heights, the two men are locked in a savage struggle that will stretch from the mountains of Sinaloa to the shores of Veracruz, to the halls of power in Washington, ensnaring countless others in its wake. About the Author Bestselling author Don Winslow has written nineteen books and numerous short stories, as well as writing for television and film. A former private investigator and trial consultant, Winslow lives in Southern California.

A big, sprawling, ultimately stunning crime tableau. A magnum opus. This is reporting and expose built around an intricate plot, finely etched characters and whip-crack dialogue. Storytelling that matters. Less of a sequel than an integral part of a solid-gold whole. Steeped in reportage, the novel. There is no higher mark for a storyteller than to both educate and entertain. With Winslow these aspects are entwined like strands of DNA. His prose is sparse and ferocious, and his rapid-fire story hits you like bullets from an AK Tense, brutal, wildly atmospheric, stunningly plotted, deeply etched.

It is unlikely to be bettered this year. The coke-fueled, blood-soaked horror show that ensues would scare Tony Montana straight. Don Winslow deals in corruption, subversion, and revenge with an intensity that makes him irresistible. Winslow has become an unintentional expert on a subject that sickens him. A grand and gripping epic novel. There is a deep understanding of the bonds and betrayals inherent to the drug trade, considerable musing about the difference between vengeance and justice, and a recognition that even in the face of soul-sapping depravity, there can be nobility and courage.

Winslow [writes with] the authority of an investigative reporter and the narrative skill of a best-selling author. He builds up to these moments beautifully, creating emotion and setting the stage for visceral attitude when such scenes explode. Winslow never loses his humanity and rage as he sweeps across a decade of rough shadow history to the wounded grace note it ends on. It captures everything great about crime fiction and makes it epic. Winslow has envisioned his novel on an epic scale. At heart, this is the familiar tale of symbiosis between pursuer and pursued, reconfigured for the war on drugs and given a mean noir edge.

Funny one minute, terrifying the next. A Wagernian epic of murder and vengeance. But through the blood haze and the political fog, Winslow allows us to see—and even to care about—his skillfully drawn characters. It is disturbing, and it is based in large part on actual events. This reader stuck with The Cartel to the end because it says something important.

Beyond genre, there is musicality to his prose; staccato sentences that draw the reader in immediately. Devilishly plotted and exhaustingly vivid. And there are plot twists. Expect violence, gore—and revenge. The old comforts you might find in Michael Connelly or Elmore Leonard are still here. Which it is—a kind of true story set in the recognizable horror show of Mexico narco-terrorism.

What emanates from his writing.