Categorized | Arts & Culture, Reviews

Monthly Movie Reviews: Layer Cake

Director: Matthew Vaugh

Starring: Daniel Craig, Sienna Miller and Michael Gambon

In honor of the upcoming release of Skyfall on November 9, which by the way is the new James Bond movie for all of you who have been living under a rock the past few months, I decided to choose a movie to review starring James Bond himself, a.k.a. Daniel Craig. And let’s face it, we can never have too much of Daniel Craig.

While the only thing that may be related in these two films is the fact that Craig gets to run around being a bad ass, that doesn’t mean Layer Cake is not an action packed British (yes ladies, I did say British, so get ready to drool over all the amazing accents) crime thriller as well.

Layer Cake, in spite of the misleading name, has nothing to do with cake (bummer I know). Layer Cake in this movie actually refers to the social strata in the British criminal world, along with the numerous plot layers that exist in the film. That being said, the movie is in reality about Craig’s character, who does not have an identified name in the film, a cocaine dealer on the brink of retirement who is asked to do two more challenging jobs, one of which is completely out of his league. The first is finding the missing daughter of a major coke supplier (and she’s a drug addict, surprised?) and the other is organizing the purchase and delivery of one million ecstasy pills from an arrogant gangster named the Duke. Did I mention that this movie might have to do with something about drugs? Well in case I didn’t here it goes, this movie has a lot of drugs in it. You’re welcome.

So you are probably thinking things can’t get much worse for him now right, but you’d be wrong. Things pretty much just keep on getting worse. With a slew of lies, secrets and hidden agendas that spiral down into a bloody mess, we see the evolution, well actually rather the degeneration, that a life of crime brings on.

One big glitch in the plan is when we learn that all the pills the Duke has acquired turn out to be stolen. Which isn’t really good for anyone, especially Craig, who now has a hit man after him who wants the pills (and the Duke’s head) and isn’t afraid to takes Craig’s head along with it in the process if he has to.

Around half way through the film we are introduced to the father of the runaway coke addict teenage girl. When I first saw the father/menacing drug supplier Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon), I knew he seemed very familiar and then it hit me like a lightning bolt. Bloody hell, it’s Dumbledore! After the shock of seeing Dumbledore without a beard down to his knees, and not a wand in sight, it was easy to picture Gambon as an experienced and cold-hearted drug lord. Scary, I know, but he does it well.

Also, of course, there is a hot, but complicated girl added into the mix here as well, which doesn’t exactly appear to be a threatening or terrible problem for Craig, if you know what I mean. There always seems to be “that girl” in this type of movie, let’s say Sienna Miller for the sake of this movie, on screen for two minutes in order to further progress and add insight to the plot of the film.  That is why they do it, right?

This movie does at times get a bit confusing and pulls at our intellectual abilities to be aware of everything at all times in a film, which, let’s face it, is not an easy task for me to do. Be it the accents, or just that I had a bit of trouble following the story line at various points in the film, I didn’t grasp a few of the elements that had been presented in the movie. Don’t be alarmed by this though, because at no point did it take away from my understanding of the movie as a whole, or my experience of watching the film. All it really did was muster a few looks of confusion with my head cocked to one side, which by the way, made me glad I watched this movie alone.

Without giving too much away, since I hate when people do that and I really can’t say much more about the film without doing so, I will say this: there are some unanticipated twists and turns that go down which will take you by surprise in this film, along with a few semi-predictable plot lines, but all in all it is a very well-written and acted film. So ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts, hold on to your popcorn and get ready to push the pedal to the metal because you are in for a crazy, action packed and suspenseful ride in Layer Cake.

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