Layer Cake

I’d had Layer Cake on my watch list for a while because someone a long time ago suggested it. I had a vague sort of memory around why I wanted to see it, but never a strong enough one to engage my attention. Then one day I got really sick and to distract from the pain, I thought I’d watch a movie with Daniel Craig, and Matthew Vaughn’s directorial debut. Lots of current events coincide with this occurrence. Daniel Craig is in some indie spy movie that’s getting some traction in the UK, but nowhere else. Matthew Vaughn was trending on twitter the other day, and I, too, am making my directorial debut in the coming weeks.

The British Crime Film

Layer Cake is a witty, quick little movie about European gangsters, drugs, violence and the usual. It’s a lot like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or the other Jason Stathom gangster movie Snatch, or the other witty heist crime movie Logan Lucky. The dialogue is snappy, witty and realistic, very reminiscent of In Bruges.

Not that Layer Cake steals inspiration from the other films, it came out in 2004. It’s a good movie, and for a directorial debut, yes, it’s a great film. It’s based on a book, and introduces and experiments with a lot of unique little visual elements. The intro sequence is of particular note of being an interesting set of visuals, the music is a recurring success, whether it’s the soundtrack or the OST. Craig is hot, so that’s cool. 

If a British Breakfast was a Movie

However, the film, to me, feels a bit flat. There’s no inspiration, or jolt of energy that keeps me entangled with the unnamed protagonist, and the cobweb of gang relationships, enmities, higher powers, big money and more double crossing, gets a bit dull. A similar movie, Dead Man’s Chest, has a similar set of tools, but there’s an artistic, characteristic flair to the sets, the characters, the music even. The film engages your imagination and your emotions, and feels earned, despite the unnecessarily convoluted network of deals and undeals. Layer Cake doesn’t earn this, and rides off what it hopes it’s achieved in style and coolness from the aforementioned opening sequence.

Again, Layer Cake isn’t a bad movie. It’s a good movie, and if you like crime films, drug movies, gangsters, or men getting caught up in an unfortunate set of criminal circumstances, then maybe this is a movie for you. A big bonus is that this movie foreshadows Craig’s success as the latest Bond. It’s incredible how amongst the unnamed gunrunner’s scared, macho persona runs the suave, cool, collected Bond persona. This movie precedes Craig’s Casino Royale by two years, so it’s not a stretch to think that this movie is why he was picked. It’s just cool to see bits of Bond in another film. 6/10. Daniel Craig is so hot. So hot.

Layer Cake is available to stream on Netflix, rent on Vudu, or Amazon.

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