In Black City: 20 Noir Movies

In the heart of fans of stylish cinema, a special place is given to films in the noir genre. The brutal genre with laconic visuals, generous shooting on rainy night streets, lonely heroes and fatal beauties conquered the audience in the 40s, and decades later returned to the screens. We bring to your attention a selection of the best films in the noir style – thrillers, detective stories and crime dramas with black humor.

Fraud City (2020)

We are used to seeing police officers as heroes who, without sparing themselves, save civilians from scammers and sadists. But is it always like this? What will a police officer do if he has to cross the line of the law to save his career? Misanthropic crime noir will give the viewer two hours to think about this topic. A Marseille law enforcement officer gets involved in a no-holds-barred fight with local gangsters and corrupt colleagues to protect his team.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Rogue City

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Lannik Gautry, Stanislas Merhar, Kaaris, Jean Reno …

Country:
France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

An excellent representative of the modern detective story – an interesting film in the noir style, where one of the characters is New York with the slums of Brooklyn and the jazz clubs of Harlem. Four orphans are blindly devoted to their patron, Frank Minna, who pulled them out of the orphanage. When Frank is killed, one of his pupils, a humble, lonely man with Tourette’s Syndrome, decides to start investigating the murder on his own. In this case, Lionel will use his abilities and a small number of leads that Frank left.

Original title:
Motherless Brooklyn

Genre:
Drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Edward Norton, Gugu Embata-Ro, Alec Baldwin, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
18+


Wild Goose Lake (2019)

A Chinese crime drama with the perfect noir set – the protagonist on the run, gangsters, femme fatale, cops. Thriller based on a true story about a motorcycle thief who gets into trouble because of a gang showdown. As a result, a random killer is forced to go on the run with no hope of salvation. Zhou tries to organize everything so that his wife receives a reward for his capture. And the unfortunate bandit will be assisted by a worker in the sphere of intimate services Liu. However, Zhou cannot trust her completely.

Original title:
Nan fang che zhan de ju hui

Genre:
Drama, crime

Actors:
Hu Ge, Kwai Lunmei, Liao Fan…

Country:
China, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.8

Age limit:
18+


Earthquake Harbinger (2019)

Another Asian noir is a psychological thriller film based on the novel of the same name. The viewer will not have time to get acquainted with the heroine Lucy, a translator living in Tokyo, as she will already be taken for interrogation. The girl is suspected of killing her friend. But what if the love triangle, which also involved the victim and the photographer Teiji, led to a fatal denouement? Gaps in Lucy’s memory, and the fact that in the past she was indirectly guilty of the death of loved ones, add doubts to the heroine. What if she really is involved in a crime?

Original title:
Earthquake Bird

Genre:
Thriller, melodrama, detective, crime

Actors:
Alicia Vikander, Riley Keogh, Naoki Kobayashi …

Country:
UK, Japan, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 5.9

Age restrictions:
18+


Poison Rose (2019)

The film noir tells the story of a private detective Carson from Los Angeles – a lover of cigarettes, booze and gambling . One day a secular lady comes to his office. She asks to find one woman whom she last saw in a psychiatric clinic in Texas. The investigation gets complicated after Carson’s ex-lover hires him to protect her daughter. The girl is accused of killing her husband. A series of strange visits no longer seems to the detective to be ordinary coincidences.

Original title:
The Poison Rose

Genre:
Thriller

Actors:
John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Ella Blue Travolta …

Country:
Italy, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.2, IMDb – 4.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Beneath Silver Lake (2018)

The action of the American neo-noir film takes place in hot Los Angeles. Weird boy Sam loves to watch people and build detective assumptions. One day, the amazing beauty Sarah, the girl from the cover of a magazine, moves into the apartment opposite. A spark runs between the young people, but the next morning the new neighbor disappears without a trace. Sam begins his own investigation, which will lead him to the most hidden corners of the “City of Angels”.

Original title:
Under the Silver Lake

Genre:
Detective, comedy, crime

Actors:
Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Topher Grace…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Ultimate (2018)

Stylish thriller tells the story of the mysterious blonde Alice. During the day, the green-eyed beauty works as a waitress, and at night she dances a striptease in a men’s club. Alice is trying to make a career in the criminal world, weaving intrigues, pitting criminals against each other and removing competitors. The insidious girl turns to the local authority Mr. Franklin for help. In exchange for certain services, she asks to set her up with an old acquaintance with whom Alice has a score.

Original title:
Terminal

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Dexter Fletcher …

Country:
Ireland, UK, Hong Kong, Hungary, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 5.4

Age restrictions:
18+


London Fields (2018)

Film noir with an amazing cast and incredibly beautiful atmosphere. Writer Samson Young comes to London looking for inspiration for a new novel. There he meets the charming Nicola Six, a woman with the gift of clairvoyance, who predicted her imminent death at the hands of a murderer. It is her Samson decides to make the main character of the book. A man watches Nicola meet two men at a bar. One is a petty swindler, the other is an aristocrat. Both would become her potential killers.

Original title:
London Fields

Genre:
Thriller, crime, detective

Actors:
Amber Heard, Jim Sturgess, Theo James, Billy Bob Thornton …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 3.9

Age restrictions:
18+


Happy City (2018)

The top continues with a curious film, shot in three genres, one of which is noir. Three periods of the protagonist’s life are shown in reverse chronological order, and each part is made in a different genre. Zhang Dong Ling is devastated and destroyed from the inside. He tries to mend his relationship with his wife, whose 30-year marriage is about to fall apart, meets his daughter, and spends time with a foreign prostitute. The dark film will show the story of a man through relationships with these women who changed his life.

Original title:
Xing fu cheng shi

Genre:
Fantasy, drama, crime

Actors:
Li Hongchi, Huang Lu, Ivy Yin …

Country:
Taiwan, China, France, USA

Rating:
IMDb – 6.2


Gangster Hunters (2013)

One of the best highly rated noir films ever, this American-born crime detective takes viewers back to 1949. Violent gang leader Mickey Cohen rules the streets of Los Angeles. The thug is protected not only by his assistants, but also by corrupt cops and corrupt politicians . Mickey could feel like a local king, if not for two desperate policemen Jerry and John, who do not want to put up with the prosperity of crime in their beloved city. The men join forces to clear the area of ​​Cohen’s accomplices.

Original title:
Gangster Squad

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Hotel Noir (2012)

A classic black-and-white film noir revolves around a private detective. Felix is ​​pursued by a gang of mafiosi and is forced to hide in a hotel. A night at the establishment may be the last of his life, but he manages to make friends with a cabaret singer , a maid, a traveling salesman and an avid gambler. All the characters share their past with each other in a half-empty hotel.

Original title:
Hotel Noir

Genre:
Thriller, drama, melodrama, crime

Actors:
Robert Forster, Carla Gugino, Mandy Moore …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 5.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Send them to hell, Malone! (2009)

A former private detective turned mercenary, Malone enters into a dangerous business – to deliver something valuable and mysterious to the ruthless gangster Whitmore. Suspecting that this smacks of a setup, Malone tries to sort out the situation. On the way to the truth, the mercenary will have meetings with tough guys, inveterate scoundrels, luxurious women, and at the end he will solve a terrible secret.

Original title:
Give ’em Hell Malone

Genre:
Action, thriller, crime

Actors:
Thomas Jane, Ving Rhames, Elsa Pataki …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 5.9

Age restrictions:
18+


Jift (2008)

One of the best crime films in the noir genre tells the story of a prisoner in a Bulgarian prison named Motylok. He is released early due to participation in Soviet propaganda. His only property is a piece of tar, and his only goal is to find a diamond that went missing during one of the robberies. To do this, Moth will need the help of his accomplice Ada, with whom they committed a crime 15 years ago that sent him to prison.

Original title:
Zift

Genre:
Drama, crime

Actors:
Zahari Bakharov, Tanya Ilieva, Vladimir Penev…

Country:
Bulgaria

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
18+


Max Payne (2008)

The film, based on the cult computer game, tells about detective Max Payne, a former employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration . The usual way of life of a man changes overnight when an unknown psychopath kills his family. Max leads a private investigation and discovers the killer. But the matter is complicated by the fact that the former policeman has been falsely accused of murder – his wallet was found at the crime scene, and now Max is being hunted.

Original title:
Max Payne

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, crime

Actors:
Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Beau Bridges, Olga Kurylenko…

Country:
USA, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 5.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Avenger (2008)

Police officer Danny Colt was killed, but the universe decided to give him a second chance. Danny is resurrected, having received the gift of invulnerability in addition – his wounds heal instantly. And since the man has always been an honest policeman, he puts on a mask, invents the nickname “Avenger” for himself and decides to use his new abilities in the fight against crime. Now he is a storm of bandits and a favorite of women, fearless and invincible.

Original title:
The Spirit

Genre:
Action, thriller, comedy, adventure

Actors:
Gabriel Macht, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Eva Mendes…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 4.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Sin City (2005)

A real cherry on the cake in the list of the best neo-noir films. Atmospheric comic book action movie by Frank Miller consists of three stories set in a fictional city. A seasoned detective on the last day of his work before his resignation pursues a pedophile maniac. A man named Marv is trying to figure out who killed Goldie, the girl he spent the night with. Dwight stands up for prostitutes. All heroes personify local saviors, firing from all barrels in the pouring rain on dark streets.

Original title:
Sin City

Genre:
Action, thriller, crime

Actors:
Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 8.0

Age Limits :
16+


Brick (2005)

The American neo-noir detective won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for its original look. High school student Brendan Fry receives a call from his ex-girlfriend, Emily. She hysterically asks for help, talking about some kind of brick, and hangs up. Soon Brendan finds Emily, but she does not want to discuss what happened, claiming that she is all right. A few days later, with the help of a strange note, a young man finds her corpse and begins to investigate the mysterious story.

Original title:
Brick

Genre:
Detective, drama

Actors:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Seetner, Lucas Haas …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Black Orchid (2005)

The film adaptation of the novel of the same name takes place in the 1940s. The body of a young girl nicknamed “The Black Orchid” is found in a vacant lot. She is brutally murdered. The case is taken by two police officers Bucky Blaikert and Lee Blanchard, who became friends during the showdown with Mexican gangs. The investigation leads the men to the conclusion that the girlfriend of the murdered woman, several police officers and the most powerful family in New York are involved in the crime.

Original title:
The Black Dahlia

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank …

Country:
USA, Germany, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 5.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Dark City (1998)

The dystopian film was released a year before the release of the legendary “Matrix” and, according to some critics, more widely revealed the idea of ​​imitation of life. John wakes up in a hotel room with a bloody forehead. The man has no memory of what happened or who he is. The corpse of a girl is soon found in the next room. Outside the window is night, and strange things happen – all the inhabitants fall asleep as if on cue, and lanky figures in black walk around the streets.

Original title:
Dark City

Genre:
Fiction, thriller, detective

Actors:
Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly …

Country:
Australia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
16+


LA Confidential (1997)

An old classic of the genre is the popular crime drama based on the bestselling book by James Ellroy. As additional preparation for his role in this film, Russell Crowe traveled with a real cop for a while. The story tells about the police department in 1953. Among the servants of the law there are criminals, informers and heroes. But now they all have one thing in common – the desire to find the villains who committed the massacre in one of the cafes in the city.

Original title:
LA Confidential

Genre:
Thriller, drama, crime, detective

Actors:
Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.0, IMDb – 8.2

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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