Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn, 2004)

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“As I try to make my way, to the ordinary world, somehow I will survive”, sings Duran Duran, as a crazy drug dealer kicks the shit out of a fat bloke, before pouring hot tea over him. This happens about half an hour into Matthew Vaughn’s crime movie Layer Cake (named such to represent the “tiers” in London organized crime), and by then, I was completely lost.

What I think the film is about, is Daniel Craig’s small-scale cocaine dealer, a flash little sod, fancies himself a wee retirement, but some people want to use him as a pawn in their macrocosm. One of these people, Price asks Craig to locate the drugged-up daughter of his associate, Eddie Temple. Meanwhile, a crappy local drug-dealer who names himself “Duke”, has hijacked a massive quantity of drugs from a group fo Serbians, and, in doing so, namedropped Craig’s character, who finds himself in deeper trouble than ever.

“Choppy” would be a word I’d use to describe Layer Cake, whose scenes chop and change at its heart’s desire, with no real purpose. Brutal and stylised violence is scattered about the film, some parts shocking, but nothing we haven’t seen before, and done better, in Goodfellas, Carlito’s Way or Casino.

Some of the performances are alright – Ben Wishaw is rather good and Michael Gambon manages to scare me in a brief role. Daniel Craig, I’m afraid, still fails to convince, and he spends a good deal of the film poncing about in designer shirts or giving a pretentious voice-over where he makes drug-dealing sound as deep as Sartre or something. Furthermore, every time his character swears, feels forced and awkward. And Sienna Miller bungs up too, as a shameless floozy with the most repulsive Essex accent I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

The finale was certainly unexpected and there are some class usages of music throughout the film (She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult, A+), but overall, I would only recommend this piece of turd if you want a good lol. Layer Cake thinks its cool, slick and classy, but it’s nothing but a messy, sloppy mess. Indeed, my favourite scene was at the end, Joe Cocker’s vocals covering Nina Simone’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, as SPOILER Daniel Craig’s character hopefully bleeds to death. /SPOILER