Layer Cake

Layer Cake
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
Rated: R
Release Date: 2005-06-03
Cast: Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Kenneth Cranham, George Harris, Louis Emerick
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Screenwriter: J J Connolly
WorkNameSort: Layer Cake
Our Rating: 4.00

Director Matthew Vaughn (producer of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) spins an involving underworld tale of deception and double-cross, relying on good old piss and vinegar to keep us invested in basic story elements that are more fun than novel. Our protagonist is a dope dealer (Daniel Craig) who is – naturally – about to retire from the business; first, he has to lead the search for a missing girl and broker a hazardous, high-stakes Ecstasy deal. The ensuing comedy of violent errors (adapted from a book by J.J. Connolly and introduced to local audiences at this year's Florida Film Festival) has enough role reversals and big reveals to keep any audience guessing. If you're not adept at deciphering dialogue muttered in thick Brit tongues, you'll feel even more disoriented. Vaughn's sense of rhythm and perspective marks him as a total filmmaker, with uniformly terrific lighting and picture composition begging our forgiveness for the occasional played-out techniques like the dreaded carousel shot, in which the camera spins around and around as if the director of photography were caught in a revolving door. Even Brian De Palma laughs at that stuff nowadays.


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