Mea Culpa is Netflix's #1 movie, but it's getting savaged – watch these 3 thrillers instead

A promo image of Mea Culpa
(Image credit: Netflix)

It's fair to say that the reviews of Mea Culpa, the new Netflix thriller, aren't being very kind. It's currently sitting with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 15%, and while that's only based on 13 reviews so far, it does appear that if this film were a bird, it'd be a turkey up there with the likes of Gigli.

The Guardian says it's "hilariously messy" – and not deliberately so – while the New York Times says that this "wilfully steamy" thriller is "decidedly silly". Variety tries to have it both ways, noting that "many will write it off as as shlock" but "there’s something admirable about a filmmaker who knows exactly what his audience wants." It doesn't sound like this will be threatening our list of the new Netflix movies, in any case.

Don't worry, though. If you want a thriller that'll keep you entertained reliably, there are plenty of decent options among the best Netflix movies. Here are three of our favorites.

LA Confidential

Based on the complex and pitch-dark James Ellroy novel, LA Confidential is set in the murky world of 1950s Los Angeles when the only thing scarier than the criminals is the cops. It follows three policemen who attempt to take on the corruption surrounding an unsolved murder, and as the late Roger Ebert wrote in his review it's a film noir but it's also so much more. "It contains all the elements of police action, but in a sharply clipped, more economical style; the action exists not for itself but to provide an arena for the personalities. The dialogue is lovely; not the semiparody of a lot of film noir, but the words of serious people trying to reveal or conceal themselves." It's an exceptional film.

Jackie Brown

This is another adaptation of a novel, this time Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. Jackie Brown is a delight from start to finish, with a spectacular performance by Pam Grier as flight attendant turned smuggler Jackie Brown, Samuel L Jackson as her arms dealer boss and an ensemble cast that also includes Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton and Robert De Niro. According to Empire, the film solidly established director Quentin Tarantino as "still the most imporant filmmaker of the decade"; Variety loved it too, saying that it "offers an abundance of pleasures, especially in the realm of characterization and atmosphere." 

Fair Play

The most recent movie here feels like it fits well with the other two, with which it shares a similar sensibility: a mix of thriller, violent drama and erotic thriller, Newsday says it's "one of the more incisive and powerfully made movies about relationship dynamics in a good long while." Not every critic was so thrilled, but as the Independent explains that "it’s ultimately a very ugly film. That’s not its failure, but its intention. Don't let the synopsis put you off: while the film is focused on a young couple whose relationship starts to unravel following an unexpected promotion, it’s a tale of twisted love that Empire says will "keep you holding your breath until the end."

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.