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Best French Thrillers of Recent Times (10+1list)

Best French Thrillers of Recent Times

written by Souranath Banerjee

Bonjour mon ami! (hopefully that translates into hello, my friend)

Its common knowledge that the French are famous for their beards, windows and kiss, but did you know that they also specialize in Thrillers?

Suspense, mystery, action packed dramas and psychological thrillers seem to be their favorite genres and here are some of the best French Thrillers of Recent Times! 

Au revoir! (my French is pretty limited but all I wanted to say was Enjoy the list).

10. With a Friend Like Harry… (2000)

original title: Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiSP7T0bf2o

with-friend-like-harry-posterMeeting an old school friend is always a moment of joy, right?

Wrong. Specially when you meet the mysterious Harry, an old chum who makes sure to flip your life upside down.

Directed by Dominik Moll, and casting Laurent LucasSergi López and Mathilde Seigner – a mystery that soon turns into something unexpectedly sinister.

9. The Apartment (1996)

original title: L’appartement

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwapQhrZ-D0

The-Apartment-posterA mysterious take on love, a superb piece of story-telling and top quality acting; the result is this fine example of a French Thriller.

Romane BohringerVincent Cassel and of course Monica Bellucci, a combination played to perfection.

Directed by Gilles Mimouni, this one is a unique film with enough number of plot twists to keep the guessing game going till the finish line.

8. Anything for Her (2008)

original title: Pour elle

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBZVsLoSsDU

Anything-for-Her-posterA school teacher’s wife gets arrested and their family life is shattered. Now, he is ready to do anything for her, even if that means breaking the law!

Starring Vincent Lindon and Diane Kruger who gave very believable performances.

Directed by Fred Cavayéthis one is a powerful crime drama with a heart pounding climax.

7Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)

original title: L’instinct de mort

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Ku-B5Gkws

Mesrine-Part-1-Killer-Instinct-posterA biographical account of legendary french gangster Jacques Mesrine.

Vincent Cassel plays the mean and brutal goon who is stylish, egoistic and trigger happy! 

Adventurous and thrilling, desperate and unflinching,  a cool gangster flick directed by Jean-François Richet.

The story comes in two parts/films, so don’t you forget to watch Mesrine Part 2: Public Enemy #1 (2008).

6. Tell No One (2006)

original title: Ne le dis à personne

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvvY1M8vjzI

tell-no-one-poster1How can there be signs of someone being alive even after their death?

Only few thrillers can keep the romantic involvements intact and still tell the story in a way that makes you sit up with tension.

Directed by Guillaume Canet, a novel based film that will keep you guessing till the end.

5. The Connection (2014)

original title: La French

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx41FbyvSMw

la-french-posterMarseilles, the South of France being the backdrop, the film is based on the life story of the infamous mafia boss Gaëtan ‘Tany’ Zampa.

Jean Dujardin is as usual brilliant, and Gilles Lellouche at his very best. 

Directed by Cédric Jimenez, a gangster film full of thrill and emotion. 

4. A Pure Formality (1994)

original title: Una pura formalità

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Li11QSlIJY

pure-formality-posterA mysterious killing, a suspect and an inspector who collects the clues and tries to solve the case.

Brilliant performances by Gérard Depardieu and Roman Polanski who plays the game of guilty and innocence till the very end.

Directed by acclaimed Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore, this is one thriller that shouldn’t be missed.

From the same director The Unknown Woman (2006) and The Professor (1986).

3. A Prophet (2009)

original title: Un prophète

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l69ARbQt-Ko

A-Prophet-posterPrisons are always dangerous and a French prison is no exception.

Directed by Jacques Audiard, this is a thrilling tale of an Arab man who climbs the ropes and learns to survive inside the prison, and finally becomes the mafia boss.

Full of intense moments, real, gritty and violent. And Tahar Rahim gives his career best performance in this one.

From the same director The Beat That My Heart Skipped (2005) and Read My Lips (2001).

2. Hidden (Caché) (2005)

original title: Caché

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_ZtfuvxpEw

cache-poster1Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche are seemingly a happily married couple but then, certain surveillance videotapes begin to appear from an unknown source and that terrorizes them to the core.

A French film by the renowned German director Michael Haneke, a superb thriller loaded with extreme tension, paranoia and suspense. 

From the same director The White Ribbon (2009) and Funny Games (1997).

1. Léon: The Professional (1994)

original title: Léon

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcsirofJrlM

Léon-professional-posterA professional assassin reluctantly shelters and protects a 12-year-old girl, who quickly learns the dangerous trade and becomes his protégée!

Jean RenoGary Oldman and young Natalie Portman – some performances to remember.

Directed by Luc Besson (before his plunge into more commercialized Hollywood films), this one is undoubtedly the most sleek and stylish action thriller ever made. My personal favorite!

From the same director La Femme Nikita (1990) and The Fifth Element (1997).

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most disturbing one. A must watch).

+1. Irreversible (2002)

original title: Irréversible

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU-ZOHeWLkU

irreversible-posterStarring Monica BellucciVincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel, the film comes with some of the most disturbing visuals in the history of film making. So remember, it’s Adult only.

Directed by Argentinian filmmaker Gaspar Noé, a dark psychological thriller, extremely black in its content, and the way it has been shot (dizzy camera movements) only adds to the stress level.

Approach with caution, this one is definitely not everyone’s cup of cinema.

Similar InterestBest Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times

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