We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 movie mysteries from 1990-2000. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. Basic Instinct (1992) 53% at Rotten Tomatoes
When a former rock star is killed during sex, crime novelist Catherine Tramell is the main suspect. She’s not exactly cooperative, however, and sexually teases the police officers interrogating her in one of the most famous movie scenes of the 20th century.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Wayne Knight
9. The Fugitive (1993) 96% at Rotten Tomatoes
Dr. Richard Kimble didn’t kill his wife – it was the one-armed man. Of course that doesn’t matter to the US Marshall tracking him after he escapes from his prison transport. Now he has to figure out who actually did it with an extra level of difficulty.
Director: Andrew Davis
Starring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward
8. 12 Monkeys (1995) 88% at Rotten Tomatoes
A deadly virus has all but exterminated the human race, so they send convict James Cole back to the past to stop it. He has some issues figuring it out and is considered insane by most. But he finally figures it out, albeit too late to do anything to actually stop it.
Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe
7. Sliver (1993) 12% at Rotten Tomatoes
When book editor Carly moves to the Sliver apartment building in NYC, she ends up getting romantically involved with two men, a novelist and the owner of the building. Each seemingly has secrets, and they seem to know more about each other than they let on.
Director: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Sharon Stone, Tom Beringer, William Baldwin
6. Jade (1995) 14% at Rotten Tomatoes
A wealthy man is found murdered with a hatchet, and the murder appears to be one of the escorts he regularly had at his home. Aside from the murder, the similarities between the story and Jeffrey Epstein’s real life sex slave ring are striking.
Director: William Friedkin
Starring: Linda Fiorentino, David Caruso, Chazz Palminteri
5. Dark City (1998) 74% at Rotten Tomatoes
A man wakes up in a hotel bathtub with no memory of the murders he’s wanted for. His search for answers leads him to a secret underground society and the realization that the city isn’t what it seems.
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, Rufus Sewell
4. The Usual Suspects (1995) 88% at Rotten Tomatoes
You’ve seen references to this movie a million times by now. Verbal Kint is being interrogated after a boat explosion that leaves all but two people dead. An urban legend named Keysor Soze is responsible, and it turns out Verbal’s story is pulled together from looking around the room.
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne
3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 95% at Rotten Tomatoes
A dark take on transgender issues, Silence of the Lambs has FBI trainee Clarice Starling working with incarcerated serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter to track down Buffalo Bill, a tailor rejected for gender reassignment surgery who’s now killing women to sew his own woman suit. It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine
2. Rising Sun (1993) 35% at Rotten Tomatoes
A woman is found dead in a Japanese corporate office during a party, and detective Web Smith partners with John Conner to solve the case. All evidence seems to point to Eddie Sakamura, but nothing is what it seems in this film based on the Michael Crichton novel of the same name.
Director: Philip Kaufman
Starring: Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Tia Carrere
1. Primal Fear (1996) 74% at Rotten Tomatoes
Primal Fear is one of my favorite movies and easily the best performance of both Gere and Norton’s careers. When a young altar boy is accused of murder, a hotshot lawyer comes to his defense. It seems like an open and shut case, but the altar boy isn’t what he seems.
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Laura Linney