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The 20 Best Crime Films of the 21st Century, From ‘Memento’ to ‘Zodiac’

The 20 Best Crime Films of the 21st Century, From ‘Memento’ to ‘Zodiac’

No genre illustrates the evolution of cinema better than the crime film. As recently as the ’90s, Hollywood regularly released stories of cops-and-robber showdowns and mystery-thrillers based on best-selling novels — but as the middle class continues to disappear from Hollywood films, smart crime stories moved to television (see: “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Night Of,” et. al.).

Outside the studios, there is a longstanding tradition – from the B-movies to the Coen brothers – of new directors showcasing their filmmaking chops with dark, stylish, and intense crime sagas. A surge of new filmmakers in the ’90s brought fresh interpretations to the genre, from the pastiche of “Reservoir Dogs” to the unnerving realism in “Boyz n the Hood.”

Read MoreThe 50 Best Films of the ’90s, From ‘Pulp Fiction’ to ‘Groundhog Day

These days, many of the best contemporary directors — including Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Mann, the Coens, Park Chan-wook and Spike Lee – still love the genre,

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