Recently someone inquired, “I'm looking for movies with mind games and cat and mouse chases. I'm looking for films or series in live-action like Death Note, where the characters are intelligent and always one-up each other. Something thrilling and unexpected.” Here are the top-voted responses.
1 – Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Catch Me If You Can is the perfect game of cat and mouse. It's a biographical crime comedy-drama based on Frank Abagnale's autobiography claiming he posed as a pilot, a doctor, and a parish prosecutor. Additionally, he performed millions of dollars worth of cons. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Christopher Walken.
2 – Midnight Run (1988)
Midnight Run is a buddy cop action comedy following a bounty hunter (Robert De Niro) hired to locate a mob accountant (Charles Grodin). After finding him, they engage in a cross-country chase evading authorities and the mob, who both want the accountant.
3 – The Driver (1978)
The Driver is a neo-noir crime thriller following a robbery getaway driver (Ryan O'Neal) who is fantastic at what he does and evades authority. A detective (Bruce Dern) promises to pardon a gang if they help him set up and capture the driver. It co-stars Isabelle Adjani and twists to the end.
4 – Face/Off (1997)
Face/Off is a sci-fi action thriller with serious mind games and cat-and-mouse chases. An unusual top-secret mission follows an FBI Special Agent (John Travolta) and a sociopathic criminal (Nicolas Cage) swapping faces after the criminal falls into a coma. The idea is that the agent can get information from the criminal's brother about a bomb set to go off in an unknown location in Los Angeles.
However, when the criminal wakes from his coma, he puts on the agent's face, kills everyone who knows about the mission, and assumes the role of an FBI Special Agent, including living with his wife and child.
5 – Nine Queens (2000)
Nine Queens is an Argentinian crime drama following a duo of two-bit hustlers (Gastón Pauls and Ricardo Darín) teaming up on a half-million-dollar con. However, as time progresses, deceptions increase, making it increasingly difficult to determine who is conning whom in the scam.
6 – The Silent Partner (1978)
The Silent Partner is a Canadian thriller following a bank teller skimming $50,000 during a crooked Santa Claus robbery and the Santa Claus robber who wants it back. It stars Elliott Gould, Christopher Plummer, and Susannah York.
7 – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
The Man Who Knew Too Much is a suspense thriller Technicolor remake by Alfred Hitchcock of his 1934 film of the same title but features a significantly different script and plot. It follows a couple and their young son vacationing in Morocco who inadvertently discovers an assassination plot. After their son is kidnapped, they stop at nothing to rescue him. It stars James Stewart and Doris Day.
8 – The Hunt (2020)
The Hunt is a horror thriller movie following twelve strangers with conservative views waking up in a clearing to discover they were kidnapped by a group of affluent liberals who chose them to hunt for sport. It stars Hilary Swank, Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz, and Emma Roberts.
9 – Before I Go to Sleep (2014)
Before I Go to Sleep is a mystery psychological thriller following a woman who suffers from anterograde amnesia. So she cannot form new memories and becomes reacquainted with her husband and life every morning. However, she begins to discover terrifying truths leaving her suspicious of everyone around her. It stars Nicole Kidman, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, and Anne-Marie Duff.
10 – Taking Lives (2004)
Taking Lives is a psychological thriller following the story of an elusive serial killer assuming the identities of his victims. It stars Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Olivier Martinez, Tchéky Karyo, Jean-Hugues Anglade, and Gena Rowlands.
11 – The Fugitive (1993)
The thriller starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones features Dr. Richard Kimble (Ford) on the run from a wrongful arrest as he is accused of killing his wife.
12 – The Prestige (2006)
This Christopher Nolan film may seem like it's about two magicians, but in reality, it's filled with mind games as they attempt to constantly one-up each other to perform the ultimate magic trick.
13 – Fracture (2007)
Featuring an all-star cast of Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, and Rosamund Pike, all of whom give incredible performances, Fracture is about the trial of Ted Crawford, who is accused of murdering his wife.
14 – The Game (1997)
The David Fincher thriller, starring Michael Douglass and Sean Penn, includes an incredible twist. It's an underrated film in Lynch's filmography that deserves to stand alongside his other classic films.