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Criminologist's Choice: Top 10 Crime Must-Sees/Reads

Crime scene tape crossed over a hallway.

Whether you’re an aspiring criminologist or simply enjoy a compelling story, you can’t go past some good crime viewing. With such a vast genre though, recommendations are gold, and who better to ask for some favourites than our very own crime expert, Mr Matthew Thurgood, Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator, Criminology and Justice.

Here’s Matt’s top ten crime must-sees/reads:

  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Matt says: “The finest serial killer movie ever made, watch this and imagine yourself as the next Clarice Starling. The book kick-started my interest in criminal psychology and the film… it’s a classic!”

  • The Accused (1988)

Matt says: “Challenging rape myths and the gender-based barriers that victims face within the criminal justice system, The Accused is relevant today as it was when it was made in the eighties.”

  • Incarceration Nation (2021)

Matt says: “An absolute must-watch documentary on the over-representation of First Nations peoples in Australian prisons that explores historic and enduring issues we are yet to alleviate.”

  • Unbelievable (2019)

Matt says: “A mini-series starring Toni Colette, Unbelievable is a more modern take on the criminal justice issues and social stigma that victims of sexual assault and rape experience.”

  • Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Matt says: “As someone who taught the Terrorism Unit for many years, I found this a fascinating (albeit ‘Hollywood-ised’) insight into the mission to find Osama Bin Laden, touching on important issues of the post-9/11 era.”

  • No Friends but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison (2018)

Matt says: “An account of life in the Manus Island detention facility that highlights the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and reveals the power of law to criminalise and dehumanise certain populations.”

  • Seven (1995)

Matt says: “A fitting title for my number 7, Seven is to me the second best serial killer movie. Assuming you can get past the Kevin Spacey factor, the final act holds so much power, while the use of the 7 deadly sins works well if you’re down for a cynical take on society.”

  • Eichmann in Jerusalem: a report on the banality of evil (1963)

Matt says: “A brief but thorough report on the capture and trial of Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, a fascinating examination of the Holocaust and the trivial nature of the ‘evil’ people involved. See also the 2012 movie Hannah Arendt.”

  • Mindhunter (2017-2019)

Matt says: “I consumed so much true crime stuff when I was younger so try to avoid it these days but I caved with this series and I’m glad I did. Watch it for some interesting background into behavioural sciences in law enforcement.”

  • Die Hard (1988)

Matt says: “I first saw Die Hard at too young an age but it remains a favourite of mine. One of Alan Rickman’s finest performances and without a doubt, the best Christmas movie ever! Just maybe wait until Grandma’s gone to bed.”

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