Steven Soderbergh’s crime noir ‘No Sudden Move’ follows two small-time criminals who get caught up in the big leagues in 1950s Detroit. The pair find themselves in possession of a document that the city’s most influential industrialists and criminals are looking for. Unfortunately for the duo, this sets them on a collision course with some dangerous people from their past, and newer, more sinister ones that sit in the upper echelons of power.
The city plays almost as much of a role as the characters, with the vintage urban backdrop giving the film its gritty feel. If you enjoyed the raw gangster crime and morally ambiguous characters that populate this noir film, then we’ve got some excellent suggestions that will make you feel like a million (stolen) bucks. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘No Sudden Move’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
6. L.A. Confidential (1997)
A quintessential noir film populated by corrupt cops and glitzy Hollywood celebrities, ‘L.A. Confidential’ is a similarly kaleidoscopic crime caper whose soul is the city that is its namesake. Much like Detroit in ‘No Sudden Move,’ we see a 1950s version of Los Angeles and are subsequently taken on a crime-ridden tour of the city from its lowest cronies to the highest bosses that hide behind power. The compelling cast and allusions to actual, historical events also make for a layered film. A definite entry into any list of entertaining crime noir films.
5. Jackie Brown (1997)
Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Jackie Brown,’ though sometimes eclipsed by his other works, is an engrossing slow-burn crime film that follows a flight attendant as she gets deeper and deeper into bed with criminal forces. The usual double-crosses and cash handoffs are made layered and witty by the director’s characteristic style, and the film balances the intrigue and violence well enough to keep things stylish and understated. The fact that the film’s namesake takes on forces much more powerful than she will remind you of the audacious small-timers in ‘No Sudden Move.’
4. Black Mass (2015)
‘Black Mass’ finds Johnny Depp essaying the character of American mobster Whitey Bulger, who controls most of the crime in South Boston. The biographical crime story is set in the 1970s and follows significant historic events around the cooperation between Irish crime families and the FBI. Once again, like in ‘No Sudden Move,’ the hierarchy of a criminal organization and how it ties into other organizations (like the FBI) is clearly on display.
3. Killing Them Softly (2012)
‘Killing Them Softly’ is a neo-noir crime film that stars Brad Pitt as a mob hitman who is deployed when three small-time criminals steal from one of the mob’s gambling dens. Lower rung criminals trying to outsmart big crime families is an aspect that both this film and ‘No Sudden Move’ share. Both films also use a historically turbulent time as their backdrop (the 2008 global financial crisis in this case).
2. No Country For Old Men (2007)
This quietly menacing neo-noir also folds in some aspects from the Westerns genre, without drawing away from its gangster crime angle. A philosophical and cold-blooded assassin is sent out to recover the mob’s stolen money which has been unwittingly picked up by Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss. A game of deadly cat and mouse ensues, with the assassin leaving a trail of death and destruction behind him. The film’s cast is also compelling and includes Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones.
1. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Tarantino’s cult classic neo-noir ‘Pulp Fiction’ follows multiple criminal characters from small-timers all the way to the big mob bosses (and their $5 shake ordering wives). The film is tied together by 2 hitmen, played by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, as they go about their “dirty” business which gets a whole lot messier in the middle. The film revels in its morally gray characters that are, much like ‘No Sudden Move,’ essayed by a spectacular star cast.