2007 was one heck of a year for cinema. Masters of the art-form like Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers and David Fincher were all at work with some of the more well-respected movies of the 21st century, and there was a return to prominence for the Western genre and international film. As such, the class of potential “best of the year” films was large, and a list of 20 could have easily been formulated, but after some serious deliberation we’ve managed to whittle our candidates down to just 10.
Now is probably the time to tip your hat to those we lost during the process; our honourable mentions: Atonement, Michael Clayton, Hot Fuzz, I’m Not There, La Vie en Rose, Sunshine, American Gangster, In the Valley of Elah, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
Let us know your top 10 in the comments!
10. 3:10 to Yuma
10 years before he reinvigorated the comic book action movie with his Western-inspired take on the character of Wolverine in Logan, director James Mangold was a part of a small movement in Hollywood that sought to bring the Western genre back to prominence in 2007 with 3:10 to Yuma, a star-studded modern telling of outlaw versus sheriff.
A remake of the 1957 film of the same name, this visually enticing piece was driven largely by the fantastic dueling performances of acting powerhouses Russell Crowe and Christian Bale (with the latter in the midst of his run as the Dark Knight), and was undeniably one of the more complete and memorable pieces of 2007.
9. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Cowardly Robert Ford
As visually stunning as any film released in the 21st century, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Cowardly Robert Ford caused screenwriter-director Andrew Dominik to explode onto the scene as one of Hollywood’s top filmmakers.
A western in as many ways as 3:10 to Yuma was, only told in a more slow and methodical way, this Brad Pitt starrer provided one of the breakout roles for would-be Oscar winning actor Casey Affleck and featured two lead performances as impressive as any put to screen in 2007. With every frame a painting, The Assassination of Jesse James took clear inspiration from the likes of Terrence Malick and the king of the genre John Ford, using their vast and epic visualisations of the west to tell a deeply personal and intimate story that is sure to stick with you.
8. Gone Baby Gone
Coming off the back of an awful period in his personal life and an era in which his star power was beginning to wain, Hollywood megastar Ben Affleck put his efforts into writing and directing mystery-drama-thriller Gone Baby Gone, instantly establishing himself as a powerful filmmaker with a lot more to offer behind the camera than he seemingly had left to offer in front of it.
Telling the tale of a duo of detectives investigating the kidnapping of a young girl, this star-studded piece was led by Ben’s brother Casey in the other of the Oscar winning actor’s breakout roles. With the likes of Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris also providing excellent performances, director Affleck’s well constructed piece was presented to a very high standard, placing Ben’s feature debut ever-so-slightly above the two excellent films we’ve already listed.
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