Best French Thrillers of Recent Times
written by Souranath Banerjee
Bonjour mon ami! It’s time for some French toasts and French Thrillers!
Well, its common knowledge that the French are famous for their beards, windows and kisses, but did you know that they also specialize in Thrillers?
Suspense, mystery, action packed and even psychological dramas seem to be their favourite genres and thus, here, this list comprises of some of the Best French Thrillers of Recent Times!
Au revoir! As you have guessed, my French is pretty limited but what I actually want to say is 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
Meeting 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.
9. The Apartment (1996)
original title: L’appartement
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwapQhrZ-D0
A mysterious take on love, a superb piece of story-telling and top quality acting; the result is this fine example of a French Thriller.
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
A 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!
Directed by Fred Cavayé, this one is a powerful crime drama with a heart pounding climax.
7. Mesrine Part 1: Killer Instinct (2008)
original title: L’instinct de mort
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Ku-B5Gkws
A 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
How 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
Marseilles, the South of France being the backdrop, the film is based on the life story of the infamous mafia boss Gaëtan ‘Tany’ Zampa.
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
A mysterious killing, a suspect and an inspector who collects the clues and tries to solve the case.
Directed by acclaimed Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Tornatore, this is one thriller that shouldn’t be missed.
3. A Prophet (2009)
original title: Un prophète
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l69ARbQt-Ko
Prisons 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.
2. Hidden (Caché) (2005)
original title: Caché
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_ZtfuvxpEw
A French film by the renowned German director Michael Haneke, a superb thriller loaded with extreme tension, paranoia and suspense.
1. Léon: The Professional (1994)
original title: Léon
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcsirofJrlM
A professional assassin reluctantly shelters and protects a 12-year-old girl, who quickly learns the dangerous trade and becomes his protégée!
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!
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
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.
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