The 25 Best European Crime Movies of The Past 10 Years

17. A Bigger Splash (2015)

Legendary rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton), along with her beloved Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), flee from the hustle and bustle of the show business. They spend their longed-for holiday on an island that is far from the world, adjacent to sunny Sicily. Everything will change, however, when Marianne’s former partner, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), and his beautiful and defiant daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson) visit. The paradisiacal peace of the Italian island will be destroyed by sensual and sexual tension.

The film is a real genre mishmash, a combination of comedy-drama, crime and a tourist film celebrating the charm of southern Italy. The director combined this perfectly into a coherent whole. This is due to the great acting from Fiennes, Swinton and Schoanerst. The image is an aesthetic gem. The viewer experiences a constant state of anxiety, which perfectly opposes the paradise scenery.


16. Free Fire (2016)

Free Fire (2016)

In an abandoned warehouse in Boston, a black market deal is to be made: dirty money in exchange for illegal weapons for the IRA. The threshers gathered there, dressed up in the fashion of the 1970s, do not trust themselves for a penny. Everyone arrives to the meeting armed to the teeth. Gangster temperaments, buzzing testosterone, drugs, stress and the desire to outwit the other side do not make transactions easier.

As the director of, among others, the brilliant “A Field in England,” an undeniable advantage of Ben Wheatley movies are their black humour. Sharlto Copley, Michael Smiley and Cillian Murphy do very well in this convention. The director evidently modeled it on the gangster cinema of Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie, but he was able to turn their greatest advantages to an exorbitant level. According to his principles, cinema must be strange; he plays with criminal clichés and brings them almost to the level of farce. However, you can find artistic self-awareness in these huge narrative skills. Great fun.


15. Suburra (2015)

Suburra (2015)

A local gangster, known in the criminal underworld as “Samurai” (Claudio Amendola), would like to change a quiet town near Rome into an Italian Las Vegas. Protecting him is the influential politician Malgradi (Pierfrancesco Favino), who likes drugs and the company of young prostitutes, and he’s supported by Cardinal Berchet (Jean-Hugues Anglade). All local mafia members decide to get involved in the project. However, peace does not last long. A competitive gang may threaten Samurai’s plans.

This film has extremely involved crime, which will stay with the viewer for a long time. The strong picture of Stefano Sollima exposes in a daring way the mafia links between the church, criminals, and politicians in Italy. The film explores old topics of corruption, crime, and a lust for power. The dense, dark climate builds great photos and an excellent soundtrack.


14. May God Forgive Us (2016)

May God Forgive Us (2016)

In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI made a visit to Madrid. Meanwhile, a murderer and rapist of older women is raging in the city. Police inspectors Alfaro (Roberto Álamo) and Velarde (Antonio de la Torre) receive the task of finding a man suspected of serial murder. They are to do it discreetly and as quickly as possible, but the pressure on them and the race over time makes them come to a terrible conclusion: maybe none of them are different from the hunted murderer?

The film of the Spanish director Rodrigo Sorogoyen is not only an excellent crime story, but also an ethically deepened picture of the condition of the society. An unpleasant and stuffy atmosphere is created thanks to great photos. The way the camera is run – from hand-held shots to almost static plans – enhances the impression of the unbearable hot summer present in the film story. Noteworthy is the design of the character created by Antonio de la Torre and which is deepened by the excellent acting.


13. Starred Up (2013)

Starred Up

Eric (Jack O’Connell) seems to be a character destined to go to prison from the very beginning. Strongly demoralized and dangerous, he is shifted from the facility for juvenile offenders to sharpened rigor because of his unprecedented aggression. His father, Nev (Ben Mendelsohn), has been serving a lifetime sentence in the same establishment since Eric turned four.

This is how the irony of how “Starred Up” reveals itself, when Eric and Nev have a chance to rebuild their ruined relationship under conditions of imprisonment. The film is based on the experiences of screenwriter Jonathan Aseer who was a volunteer-therapist working in a London prison with really dangerous people.

Scottish director David Mackenzie is known as the creator of bold, hard and intense cinema. In “Starred Up” he does not focus mainly on the sentimental story of the reviving family ties. Greater attention is paid to the devotion of the characteristics of the British prison, its ruling systems and the social hierarchy. Screenwriter Jonathan Asse devotes a lot of attention to the heroic fury and his participation in sessions of the therapeutic group struggling to fight off anger attacks.


12. Ill Manors (2012)

Ill Manors (2012)

“Ill Manors” is a film depicting the fate of several residents of London, or rather the London underground, because the characters deal mainly with drug trafficking, prostitution and armed robberies. The plot is well constructed; interwoven stories form a coherent, logical whole.

The big advantage of “Ill Manors” are its well-outlined figures. The plot is not very branched, but thanks to these particular characters, more attention was devoted to it. There are no one-dimensional characters, after which the viewer could expect a particular behavior. They are unpredictable people, capable of both ruthless and cruel acts, as well as acts of kindness and mercy. Thanks to this, their fate is followed by constant tension and uncertainty.

The directorial debut of Ben Drew, better known under the pseudonym of rapper Plan B, is also the great act of Riza Ahmed, who adds splendor to this crime movie.


11. The Trap (2010)

The Trap

Mladen (Nebojša Glogovac) and Marija (Nataša Ninković) from Belgrade are struggling with financial problems. When doctors diagnose a deadly disease to their 10-year-old son, it turns out that their one salvation is treatment at a foreign clinic that they can not afford. The desperate parents publish an advertisement asking for help. Only a stranger is responsible for the ad. The businessman offers to finance the operation, but in return demands that Mladen kill the man. At first, the man rejects the monstrous proposal, but when the child’s condition worsens, he begins to seriously consider it.

“The Trap” is a crime that is socially involved, showing a Kafkaesque weakness toward a widely defined system. Of course, the question is this: how far can a man go to save his loved ones? Perhaps, though, the most important thing is to show the reason for this state of affairs. Director Srdan Golubovic draws a black picture of Serbia, a country which after the fall of communism has been economically but also morally devastated by nearly 10 years of ongoing ethnic wars, the era of Slobodan Milosevic’s rule, and international isolation.


10. Filth (2013)


Edinburgh. Detective Bruce Robertson (James McAvoy) works in the criminal department of the local police. He is addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex and pornography. He intimidates suspects and uses the power entrusted to him by society. One day, he gets a case of the brutal murder of a Japanese student who may turn out to be the key to the coveted promotion of an inspector. To achieve his goal, he cynically manipulates his work colleagues and applies all possible dirty games. He believes that if he gets a promotion, he will regain his wife and daughter.

“Filth” is an adaptation of the novel by Irvine Welsh, the author of the iconic “Trainspotting.” This is an extremely successful adaptation; filth, like the title denotes, simply pours out of the screen, and the main character played by McAvoy is disgusting to the limit. The film is compared by many reviewers to “Bad Lieutenant”; these are not comparisons without reasons, but “Filth” creates a separate aesthetic. The movie, of course, is a story of degeneration, but it is far from moralizing. McAvoy is greatly assisted by Jamie Bell and Eddie Marsan.


9. Cell 211 (2009)

Cell 211 (2011)

Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) just got a job as a prison guard. Wanting to make a good impression, he appears at work the day before. When he wanders around the prison, he gets into an accident and loses consciousness. He wakes up in cell 211 as chaos reigns in the prison and rebellion begins. Juan quickly finds himself in a new situation, as he gains the trust of Malamadre (Luis Tosar), the leader. It also tells how they should negotiate, and these ideas enjoy great recognition among the prisoners.

“Cell 211” is one of the best prison crime movies of recent years. The film is primarily a show of one of the most outstanding Spanish actors, Luis Tosar. The picture shows that simple divisions between good guys and bad guys can change in a few moments. Interestingly, the hero is motivated by his internal transformation, as he has to decide what is systemic illusion and what is true. A great study of human morality.