Family Man, Raazi, and Mission Impossible-Fallout: 6 greatest spy thrillers you need to watch
A good espionage movie should be a healthy mix of mystery and storytelling. Just like these six films and shows which you simply cannot miss
If you haven’t already binge-watched Amazon Prime’s latest spy drama, The Family Man, right about now will be the best time to start streaming.
As the name implies, the show is built pretty much around the usual tropes of a spy thriller but with a refreshing addition in the form of some well-timed comedy. An element that actor Manoj Bajpayee has no trouble dealing with as his character Srikant navigates through the length and breadth of the plot, engaging in occasional banter with his children and handling urgent matters at work.
But Srikant’s job is more than what it is made out to be. He is above and beyond the paperwork and documentation – or what his family believes he does at work – and more about tackling a crisis that threatens the safety and security of the country. No prizes for guessing this one!
It is another espionage series and Srikant indeed leads a dual life, a family man by the day and a spy by the night.
While the genre is predictable, Amazon’s The Family Man, quite adeptly, goes beyond the expected to deliver a riot of suspense and laughter. Just how a good espionage thriller should be like – a healthy mix of mystery and storytelling.
Here’s a list of some of the other greatest spy thrillers of all time:
Now more than ever, this Alia Bhatt starrer is a must-watch for all you movie buffs!
Raazi, which landed Bhatt the Best Actor award in the Female category during the recently-held International Indian Film Academy Awards, is inspired by the true story of an Indian spy, Sehmat Khan. The film is set in the years preceding the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and it follows the journey of 20-year-old Sehmat who is married into a family of military officials in Pakistan. As a RAW agent, Sehmat – brought to life by Bhatt – has one sole mission, to gather enough information and relay it back to India.
A gritty tale of sacrifice and determination, the film is a nail-biting watch, beautifully executed by the director-actor duo Meghna Gulzar and Alia Bhat.
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Romeo Akbar Walter
Remember Shoojit Sircar’s 2013 political action thriller Madras Café? If you liked the movie – and the combination of John Abraham and the espionage – then you might love Romeo Akbar Walter as well.
Once again with Abraham at the front and centre of all action, the film is the story of an Indian banker-turned-RAW agent. The events of the plot (once again, against the backdrop the India-Pakistan war of 1971) are set in the middle of a covert operation deep inside Pakistan with John Abraham’s lead character going through three different identities as Romeo, Akbar, and Walter.
While undercover operations are nothing new in Indian spy thrillers, what hits the jackpot in this film is director-writer Robbie Grewal’s use of Abraham in three distinct get-ups. And if that’s not enough, the action sequences will surely hold you enthralled with their raw and grim details.
Now, Akshay Kumar and patriotic plots are nothing new for fans of Indian cinema. But this 2015 espionage-action thriller certainly ups the game with its flawless screenplay and direction.
As the name implies, the film revolves around ‘Baby’, which is nothing but an elite Indian counter-intelligence unit dedicated to preventing terrorist attacks in the country. Headed by Ajay Singh Rajput (Akshay Kumar), this team faces its worst nightmare after they learn of a maniacal madman’s mastermind plot.
On one hand, you have director Neeraj Pandey’s brilliant execution, and on the other hand, a stellar cast led by Kumar, Rana Daggubati, Anupam Kher, Danny Denzongpa, and Taapsee Pannu. Every reason to re-watch this thriller, no?
British actor Jodie Comer was up against veterans such as Viola Davis, Robin Wright, Laura Linney, Mandy Moore, Emilia Clarke and, Sandra Oh at the recently-held Emmys. So much so that she didn’t even invite her family to the ceremony, out of fear that she might not make the win. And yet, Comer was pleasantly surprised when she took home the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama for playing the villainous Villanelle in British spy thriller Killing Eve.
If that’s not reason enough for you to binge-watch this riveting series that follows the intertwined lives of a security operative and an assassin, then fret not. We will give you another impetus. The BBC series stars Sandra Oh as the other lead, Eve Polastri.
Mission Impossible - Fallout
It might feel like there’s no end to the Mission Impossible series, but the Tom Cruise-starring action spy franchise’s last instalment was pleasantly a break from the usual.
The sixth in the series, and the second film to be directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible – Fallout deals with the aftermath of a mission gone wrong. With rogue elements wreaking havoc, it all boils down to IMF agent Ethan Hunt (played by Cruise) and his team to race against time and retrieve the missing plutonium. All of this, while being closely monitored by the CIA.
If not for the love of the MI series, watch this film for new additions, Henry Cavill and Vanessa Kirby, a daredevil helicopter scene, and for Cruise’s sheer grit as he shoulders most of the action sequences without a body double.