We may have abandoned the EU in real life, but us Brits can’t help enjoying the intense TV and movie treats the continent has offered up
With rumours that the EU referendum may have severe implications on the entertainment industry, it’s time to celebrate the best nail-biting dramas and action sagas produced, filmed and set over in Europe.
Let’s give three cheers to these intense Euro thrillers available on Netflix UK right now.
A Most Wanted Man
One of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s final roles came in the form of Günther Bachmann, unconventional government official and protagonist of this German-set spy drama.
Director Anton Corbijn steers well away from any exaggerated action sequences, so if you’re the kind of person who’s into high-speed chases, we’d recommend giving this one a miss.
If you’re into compelling, murky mysteries that take sly digs at the evils of bureaucracy, however, then go for it.
The Transporter Refueled
The fourth film in the Transporter series really does dial the action gauge up to eleven, and some would even say it borders on the ridiculous.
Sadly, there’s no Jason Statham in this one, as Ed Skerin takes up the role of ex spec-op operative Frank Martin, but The Transporter Refueled is just as chaotic as its three predecessors, with bullets and vehicles plastering the screen at any opportunity as it careers through the French scenery.
Think of it as a homage to action movie cliches, with a slice of Euro style.
Norway’s most successful headhunter moonlights as an art thief in a darkly comic movie about the dangers of decadence.
Painting-pincher Roger gets in way over his head on his latest crime, and as the severity of the plot reaches boiling point, he finds himself embroiled in a fantastic and occasionally farcical fight for survival.
One of the most original movies of recent times.
Crime dramas are everywhere, and even the Nordic Noir landscape is pretty saturated, but Scandinavian series The Bridge is definitely a cut above.
The dynamic between Swedish and Danish investigating partners Saga and Martin is wonderfully entertaining and occasionally poignant (she’s an Asperger’s sufferer who struggles to understand people emotionally; he’s a self-destructive, but lovable rogue), and the central plot-lines are full of fascinating misdirection and surprises.
We can say with relative confidence that the noir-like mystery of the first series will have you hooked in minutes.
Set in Galway, Ireland, and based on the novels of Ken Bruen, Jack Taylor is your typical ‘maverick cop’ story, but don’t let the rough idea put you off.
You may think you’ve seen it all before, but Iain Glen does the titular role genuine justice, and the plot quickly deviates from most of the typical beats.
In the end, you’ve got a compelling thriller with some refreshing ideas, and a novel setting.
Yet another acclaimed crime-drama to come out of Denmark, The Killing has definitely earned its place on this list (a successful U.S. remake aired its final episode all the way back in 2014).
Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) is the police officer with the world’s most iconic jumper, and each series covers a different investigation day by day.
This format enables the plot line to flow in intricate depth and creates an atmosphere of real intrigue. It makes you feel genuinely involved in the detective process.
Considered to be a parallel movie to 1971’s The French Connection, this companion piece to the Gene Hackman crime classic essentially covers the same topic: an undercover policeman’s investigation of a heroin smuggling ring.
Aside from the rough plot points though, the two movies feel completely different, and The Connection director Cédric Jimenez has made sure his movie favours thrilling drama over flashy action-sequences.
The Blair Witch Project meets tongue-in-cheek fantasy in Troll Hunter, a found-footage mockumentary about three Norwegian students who decide to traverse the wilderness in search of mythical trolls.
If Cloverfield can get away with combining crazy monsters and ‘found footage’, then Troll Hunter definitely can.
It’s frequently funny, occasionally scary, and utterly charming. “TROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLL!”
Mea Culpa director Fred Cavayé has been called “an action maestro” in the past, and if you choose to watch this action-packed movie about a criminal gang who plot to take out a witness, you’re bound to see why.
The story-telling isn’t groundbreaking, but Cavayé chooses to remedy the occasional lull in tempo with break-neck fight scenes and high speed chases, which isn’t always the best way to generate excitement in a movie, but here it works.
Plus, non-linear story lines are usually a win.
The Lives of Others
Giving us an Oscar-winning glimpse into the lives of oppressed East German nationals in the early ’80s, the late Ulrich Mühe is incredible as Stasi officer Gerd Wiesler, who is ordered to investigate the political loyalty of Georg Dreyman, a successful playwright.
Mühe’s close observation of Dreyman, and the playwright’s growing despair at the impact of the corrupt regime, lets us see life behind the Iron Curtain from two very different angles – and changes both men in moving, fascinating ways.
There’s a healthy balance of excitement and grim intrigue throughout. An astonishing film.