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Top 15 Best Films of 2007: 5-1

WE pick out our 15 favourite films of 2007. Find out what made 5 to 1….

This Is England

No.5: This Is England (18)

Starring: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Vicky McClure, Jo Hartley, Andrew Shim, Joe Gilgun.

What’s the story?: It’s 1983 and 12-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) is still struggling to get over the loss of his soldier father in the Falklands conflict when he befriends Woody (Joe Gilgun), the jovial leader of a gang of skinheads who seek nothing more than enjoying life. Quickly adopted as one of the group, Shaun comes to find a sense of family that his home life can no longer provide and even takes the first tentative steps towards unlikely romance. But when the group’s former leader Combo (Stephen Graham) returns from prison life takes a darker turn…

What we said: Raw, powerful, bitingly funny and occasionally brutal, This Is England arguably rates as Shane Meadows’ finest work to date. Inspired by key moments in the director’s early life, the film offers a telling snapshot of 1980s England that also contains frightening parallels for people today… What makes it even more memorable, though, is the power of the performances. Thomas Turgoose, in particular, is mesmerising as Shaun, effortlessly combining the innocence and corruptibility of a boy on the cusp of adulthood whose yearning for a father figure exposes a tragic young heart.

Trivia: Somewhat incredibly, Thomas Turgoose had never acted before being cast in the film, had been banned from his school play for behaving badly and even demanded £5 from Meadows to turn up for the film’s audition.

Read our review l Stephen Graham interview l Buy it

Pixar's Ratatouille

No.4: Ratatouille (U)

Starring: [The voices of] Patton Oswalt, Lou Romano, Ian Holm, Brian Dennehy, Peter O’Toole, Janeane Garofalo.

What’s the story? Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) is a country rat with a heightened sense of taste and smell who dreams of becoming a chef in Paris. When fortune places him in that city, he reluctantly teams up with inept garbage boy Linguini (Lou Romano) and sets about transforming Gusteau’s restaurant into the talk of the town. But the partnership has to remain a secret and Remy has his work cut out ensuring that the restaurant’s jealous head chef Skinner (Ian Holm) doesn’t find out, while impressing sullen food critic Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole) in the process.

What we said: Take one inspired concept (namely, a rat who aspires to be a chef), add a liberal sprinkling of Pixar magic and then get Brad Bird, director of The Incredibles, to stir up the mouth-watering ingredients. The result? A (film) dish called Ratatouille that provides filmgoers of every age with one of the tastiest treats of the year!

Trivia: In the scene where Linguini decides where to put Remy so that the rat can control him, Linguini pulls open his trousers exposing his underwear – and eagle-eyed viewers will be able to make out a logo pattern for The Incredibles on his boxer shorts.

Read our review l Brad Bird interview l Go behind the scenes l Photos l Buy it

Mark Ruffalo in Zodiac

No.3: Zodiac (18)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Chloe Sevigny, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas.

What’s the story? It’s 1969 and a serial killer known as Zodiac is terrorising the city. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr) finds himself increasingly drawn into the mind games surrounding the case – much like frustrated cops David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and William Armstrong (Anthony Edwards). As the years pass, it’s left to Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) to continue the pursuit for the elusive killer, thanks to his knack for code cracking.

What we said: David Fincher serves notice of why he continues to be regarded as one of the boldest, darkest and most fascinating directors of the moment with Zodiac, a gripping account of one of America’s biggest unsolved crimes… Fincher’s film works as both a riveting police procedural and an intriguing insight into the emotional toll of crime on the people investigating it.

Trivia: Dave Toschi, the real-life police detective played by Mark Ruffalo in the movie, provided the inspiration for Steve McQueen’s performance in Bullitt. In the film, they remark how his specialized holster is like McQueen’s in Bullitt.

Read our review l Jake Gyllenhaal interview l Photos l Buy it

Brad Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

No. 2: The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford (15)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Sam Shephard, Jeremy Renner, Mary-Louise Parker, Paul Schneider.

What’s the story? America’s most notorious outlaw, the charismatic and unpredictable Jesse James (Brad Pitt), plans his next great robbery while waging war on his enemies, who are trying to collect the reward money on his head. Little does he know that the biggest threat lies from within his own gang.

What we said: It takes guts, determination and skill in abundance to realise a vision as unique and breathtaking as The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. It’s credit, then, to the combined talents of star and producer Brad Pitt, executive producer Ridley Scott and, above all, director Andrew Dominik that this revisionist Western has emerged as the masterpiece it undoubtedly is despite a lengthy production period. Dominik has crafted a beguiling epic that tips its hat to the beauty and surrealism of Terrence Malick and the raw violence of Sam Peckinpah, as well as Sergio Leone and Unforgiven-era Clint Eastwood.

Trivia: Casey Affleck beat Transformers star Shia LaBeouf to the role of Robert Ford because the latter was considered to have been too young at the time of casting. Brad Pitt, meanwhile, had it written into his contract that the lengthy name of the film wasn’t to be changed.

Read our review l Brad Pitt interview l Andrew Dominik interview l Photos l Buy it

The Bourne Ultimatum

No.1: The Bourne Ultimatum (15)

Starring: Matt Damon, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Julia Stiles, Paddy Considine, Scott Glenn, Albert Finney.

What’s the story? Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) must outwit shadowy CIA operative Noah Vosen (David Strathairn), head of the Blackbriar programme responsible for Treadstone (the secret project that turned him into an assassin), in a bid to find out the truth about his real identity and stop the assassins on his trail. His quest takes him from London to Madrid and New York via Tangier as he pieces together the clues offered by a British journalist (Paddy Considine) who has threatened to expose it all.

What we said: The Bourne Ultimatum, the allegedly final film in the saga, is a stunning piece of work that enthralls, dazzles and ultimately leaves you breathless… Returning director Paul Greengrass hits the ground running and barely lets up throughout. Opening with a stunning chase sequence in and around Waterloo, the film then sprints around the globe as part of its character’s quest to find answers… The Bourne Ultimatum is mainstream cinema at its most exhilarating – a tense, exciting action thriller that never misses its mark.

Trivia: The production devoted six weeks to filming the climactic car chase in lower Manhattan. In the sequence all vehicles are being operated at no more than thirty-five miles per hour because the New York Police Department would not allow greater speed due to concern for public safety. Believe us, it looks much faster on screen!

Read our review l Matt Damon interview l Paul Greengrass interview l View photos l Buy it

Go back to the beginning or find out what made the worst films of 2007