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Gangsters are human
Layer Cake (DVD)
Member Name: pmcds
Layer Cake (DVD)
Advantages: Daniel Craig, cast and style
Disadvantages: Some weaker moments
Layer Cake is a stylish British crime thriller featuring a pre-Bond Daniel Craig as the lead role of a drug smuggler who has become too big for his boots. Making a quick and full bank balance and then wishing for a swift and speedy exit, we never do actually find out his name. It is never mentioned in the film, nor is he credited with one, simply showing as XXXX.
The film has a series of events that lead to one clever conclusion, and is a convoluted mix of various different drugs and arms deals going right and wrong. The main thing the film has going for it is the melee of characters that emerge onto the screen, and director Matthew Vaughn seems to be taking a lead out of Guy Ritchie's book, as it is similar in many ways to the format and characters you may find in Lock Stock or Snatch. I thought the difference really is that where Ritchie's work seems to focus on the scum and streets, this was a lot more stylish and dealt with some bigger fish and the classier end of the criminal scale.
Good turns from Colm Meaney, Tom Hardy and George Harris really help this on, showing that it's more about trying to present the realistic side to this sort of crook. There is no string of cleverly strung words or an excessive use of expletibes. In fact, less is very much more in some ways. Craig excels here, slotting seamlessly into character as a nice enough guy just looking at making some fast money in an illegal way. There's no overuse of force, no splattering of blood every five seconds, not even a crescendo towards a dazzling finale. Vaughn is obviously happy to go with the flow on this one, keeping the ending in line with the stylish and classy content that has come before it.
I admired the script as well, bringing in a complicated sequence of events but displaying them bit by bit so that we're not confused. Our involvement is essential to how things are shown, with the drip feed of action interspersed with a narration to fill in the blanks. I thought the pace was good, the acting good, and generally the flow was consistent. This makes a difference and results in the film standing out slightly from others in the genre.
So, I was generally impressed with this film, and enjoyed it throughout. There were a few moments when I questioned the relevance of the romantic element of the film, with Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller padding out scenes with questionable rights to be there. This is, however, a minor blip given the general clever nature of the film and the carefully interwoven main plot with a few twists to pan out that are quite impressive. Well worth the watch. Recommended.
Summary: Impressive and stylish British crime film