Mark and I saw Layer Cake last Saturday night. Back in London – Layer Cake posters covered the Tube stops. Every morning – on my way to the Oxford Circus station – I passed the FCUK store. Layer Cake ads made it into this store as well….just like in the movie. So, thanks to a decent British ad campaign – my brain was washed just enough to be curious about the first film directed by Matthew Vaughn. The dude also produced Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel.
The film had plenty of subplots weaving in an out of the layered theme – society, the criminal underground, professional courtesy and more. By American standards, it’s unconventional and quirky – which makes it a refreshing change for Hollywood formula flicks. (Lord knows I still have a special place in my heart for those movies, especially the chick flicks – and I couldn’t convince Mark to watch “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” “Watch it when you’re mad at me,” he said.) Layer Cake get’s gory – but it doesn’t celebrate the violence. Overall, I thought it the story was clever, the actors were first-rate and the action got my blood-pumping.
The trekke-inside was thrilled at seeing Chief Miles O’Brien playing one of the gangsters.
Colm Meaney has already demonstrated a mean streak in some of his gangster characters – dating back to “Far and Away”. In Layer Cake, he’s cruel, but simply because he’s doing business in the criminal underworld. Oh – and he’s also trying to save his own ass from getting either killed or arrested or both.
Layer Cake get’s complicated as the un-named protagonist (Daniel Craig) squirms his way through two demands by his employer – find the daughter of another drug lord and find a buyer for a super-powerful stash of ecstasy pills.
Craig is quite hip in his role of the “middle man”. He’s thinks he’s a businessman and he’s savvy about the British drug game – however, there’s also a layer of naivete. He expects his professional collegues to deal straight with him – it turns out to be one of the many mistakes he makes in this film. Even towards the end, I couldn’t figure out if he’s truly a “smart boy,” as dubbed by one of the drug lords or if he’s just stupid but lucky. He’s sense of loyalty and trust are admirable qualities – but at least in this film – it doesn’t seem like it will you get you far in the whole “saving-your-own-skin” department.
Discover the other layers for yourself. Check out Layer Cake.