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"How to properly bake a cake. First, shoot the baker"

  • Jun 26, 2007
  • by
"Layer Cake" was slightly entertaining but fell flat for me. I still have to give credit to film director Matthew Vaughn for his first feature film. He made a name for himself producing the crime-comedy classics "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch". Vaughn abandons the cheeky and comedic nature of those two films and attempts to make a serious crime film. The results are decidedly uneven, as the movie is a stylish but hollow outing.

In here we have XXX (Daniel Craig) who is a man who wants to get out of the game when he reaches the height of his success. He finds forces that he can not control pulling him towards the life is trying to leave. He solves his problem and feels like he has won when suddenly there is one last surprise. Matthew Vaughn guides the film in a cool, professional manner but it lacks the needed energy. This film lacks the vitality, humor and whiz-bang camera work of the aforementioned Guy Ritchie crime flicks. It also lacks the character development and drama to work convincingly as a straight-faced crime thriller. The problem is that XXXX as presented here simply isn't an interesting protagonist. Make him likable or make him detestable, but don't make him bland and anonymous. The side characters, with the notable exception of the commanding Eddie Temple played by Michael Gambon, are similarly underdeveloped.

All this is particularly disappointing given that J.J. Connolly himself adapted his novel for the screen. I read this novel a while back and thought it was a great piece of pulp writing. Not only is the nameless narrator a distinct and dynamic character, he is surrounded by other well-defined characters, and the story includes heavy doses of humor and great intrigue and plot twists. Director Matthew Vaughn stated that many of the funny scenes from Connolly's screenplay were omitted in an apparent attempt to distance himself from "Lock Stock" and "Snatch". Additionally, some of the best characters from the book like Morty and Gene are underdeveloped stock characters in the movie, although both George Harris and Colm Meaney do as good a job as could be expected with what they're given. One issue I have is that if Vaughn was so dead set on making this a serious movie there was plenty of material to draw from in order to do a better job of developing and fleshing out the characters.

"Layer Cake" clocks in at about an hour and forty minutes and easily could have been a half hour longer, which would have provided ample time to build drama and make the characters more interesting. Certainly watch able but by no means remarkable so one slice of cake is more then enough for me.

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review by . December 04, 2005
I bought "Layer Cake" for three reasons:    1) I heard it was great.  2) It sounded great.  3) I'm a big James Bond fan, so I thought I'd get an idea of what Daniel Craig will be like.    I had no idea it would be so good.    Daniel Craig plays XXXX - a nameless drug dealer who is preparing to retire. Then the problems just drop in his lap - crime boss Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) wants the impossible, reckless drug …
review by . August 24, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
LAYER CAKE is a film to be watched with all of your senses alert: it is best viewed after a caffeine jag, or way before bedtime as it demands full attention to follow this circuitous and at times meandering plot. You have to work at this one but in the end the work pays off - sort of.    To begin with the main character (Daniel Craig) is a nameless 'good criminal' middleman working quietly producing Ecstasy pills. His motto is work small, stay quiet, pay your people on time, …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
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Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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About this movie


As its title suggests,Layer Cakeis a crime thriller that cuts into several levels of its treacherous criminal underworld. The title is actually one character's definition of the drug-trade hierarchy, but it's also an apt metaphor for the separate layers of deception, death, and betrayal experienced by the film's unnamed protagonist, a cocaine traffic middle-man played with smooth appeal by Daniel Craig (rumored at the time of this film's release to be on the short list for consideration as the next James Bond). Listed in the credits only as "XXXX," the character is trapped into doing a favor for his volatile boss, only to have tables turned by his boss's boss (Michael Gambon) in a twisting plot involving a stolen shipment of Ecstasy, a missing girl, duplicitous dealers, murderous Serbian gangsters, and a variety of lowlifes with their own deadly agendas. As adapted by J.J. Connolly (from his own novel) and directed by Matthew Vaughan (who earned his genre chops as producer of Guy Ritchie'sLock, Stock, and Two Smoking BarrelsandSnatch),Layer Cakeimproves upon those earlier British gangland hits with assured pacing, intelligent plotting, and an admirable emphasis on plot-moving dialogue over routine action. Sure, it's violent (that's to be expected) and not always involving, but it's smarter than most thrillers, and Vaughan's directorial debut has a confident style that's flashy without being flamboyant. This could be the ...
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