Saturday, June 26, 2010

Layer Cake (2004)

Summary: Daniel Craig plays a mid-level cocaine dealer living in London who is going into early retirement. However, he is asked to do two jobs by his boss before he sets out to live the quiet life. As a result, he is taken on a whirlwind of chain events leaving him with 1 million tablets of stolen ecstasy to sell. All of sudden he's now caught in the crossfire…

Plot (B+): The film was based on the novel written by J.J. Connolly who also wrote the screenplay. You always have to be a bit careful when a book turns into a movie because a lot is changed most of the time. I don’t know in this case because I didn’t read the book but since Connolly wrote the screenplay I’m more than sure he kept it as true to his novel as possible. To get a general understanding of the film I would say Layer Cake is the Ocean’s 11 of drug movies where there’s one guy out of a group who is the brains of the operation. The story is very interesting but somewhat confusing due to all the names and subplots going on. If you were to see this movie a second time it would be easier to follow. Much like a typical Guy Ritchie film everything comes together in the stunning and unexpected ending. I highly suggest seeing this film. It's funny, entertaining, and original.

Action (B+): As in any drug movie there is always violence. What you see in Layer Cake is not drastically different but still very good. Gun shoot outs, bullets in the head, brutal beatings etc etc. My favorite part was when one of Craig’s friends beat the fucking shit out of a guy. It appealed to me because of the way it was filmed. Rather than filming it in the traditional manner, this time the viewers see through the eyes of the victim during the course of the beating. We experience what he experiences such as hearing his bones break and the lack of sound due to dizziness and spells of unconsciousness. I thought that was very original and not often seen in movies.

Acting & Dialogue (B+): Daniel Craig is exceptionally smooth in this movie. He has a strong command over his role much like his character has over the situations he is put in. Just like George Clooney’s Daniel Ocean in the Ocean series, Craig is always three steps ahead of every other character in the story. He has the ability to look at all the different angles of a situation/problem and find a solution. In essence, he’s a clever businessman and a damn good one. Craig narrates throughout the film which allows for viewers to form a closer bond with his character. Such a connection is immediately made right from the beginning as Craig describes his job and his rules for playing and surviving the game. If you have noticed I haven’t provided the name to Craig’s character. I am not doing this intentionally it’s just never spoken throughout the story. Any quote you are to find by Craig from this film would simply be labeled as XXXX. Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra) has a relatively small part in this film but I felt that she really stood out. Her English accent was spot on and not overly accentuated like Jake Gyllenhaal’s in the Prince of Persia, which sounded like nails on a chalkboard. As for the other actors in the film they too did a great job. I’m not going to name them because they are not mainstream actors but their contribution to the film shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Sex Appeal (7): Seeing Sienna Miller’s side boob when she’s changing into a seductive lingerie outfit was exceptionally pleasing to my eyes.

Director: This was Matthew Vaughn’s first film he ever directed. Before the film was released in 2004, I don’t think he knew he just directed a movie of such high quality. Vaughn did an excellent job with this film and I would be very proud if I were him. He was exceptionally creative and added a distinctive style to the film by meshing two scenes together. For example, as you are watching one thing happen there are quick cuts to a different in descriptive scene that is about to come up. Vaughn also incorporated a good soundtrack, which flowed nicely with the story. A quality soundtrack is always an added bonus to any film. Recently, Vaughn directed Kick-Ass and if you can remember that review I spoke highly of him then. Vaughn’s next project will be X-Men: First Class, which is expected out in 2011. After that, he will direct the sequel to Kick-Ass. I thoroughly look forward to these future projects.

Overall: B+

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