Friday, April 3, 2009

Movie Review : Layer Cake (2004)

So I’m wandering through Target with my wife a few weeks ago and, as usual, I begin to wander away from the necessities aisles and over towards my favorites…movies and toys. After my usual run through the DC Comics and GI Joe toy aisles, something caught my eye. In the movie section, there was Layer Cake for $14.99 on BluRay! I saw this movie a while back on the recommendation of a friend and it’s a good one. Click below for the full review, oh and by the way…some small spoilers may follow, but I won’t give away the end :

Layer Cake (2004)
Written by JJ Connolly
Directed by matthew Vaughn
Starring : Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney, Sienna Miller & Kenneth Cranham

The movie kicks off with a flashback of crime through the ages in London. This is achieved in a montage that shows the different eras of drugs and what not, ending in the future where drugs like Cocaine and LSD can be purchased at a very sterile looking neighborhood pharmacy. Then back to the present where Daniel Craig (a few years before he became Bond, James Bond), whose character is never referred to by name, and is just listed as XXXX in the credits, explains his job as a “businessman” not a gangster, who deals in large amounts of coke. We meet some of the other players in the film, then he gets into a car and over some sweeping driving shots of beautiful English countryside, one of my favorite songs ever begins: She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult.

This can be categorized simply as your basic gangster movie : “Good Guy” drug dealer with morals and principles is about to make his final deal and retire, a higher up gangster asks for one last favor, and chaos ensues. But it’s better than that, on many levels.

Directed by Matthew Vaughn, who is directing the upcoming comic book adaptation Kick Ass, this is a great movie about a guy who just gets deeper and deeper into trouble as he is desperately trying to stay low key and get out of this life. The film is full of double-crosses and shady favors, as well as false impressions. Many of the characters you meet at first are either not who they seem, or not as important as they make themselves out to be. The movie jumps around to many different locales and never really hangs in the same place for long which adds to it’s frenetic feeling.

Craig is fantastic as the mysterious leading man, you actually feel bad for him even though he is a drug dealer who brought this on himself. I equate this to the same feeling of dread when Cain meets his destiny in Menace 2 Society. You didn’t even realize that you were cheering on the bad guy until you really think about it.

The soundtrack is great and includes such bands as The Cult, Rolling Stones and Duran Duran. I guarantee you that after what I consider to be the most vicious beating scene I’ve yet to see in a movie, you will never see Duran Duran’s Ordinary World in the same light again.

From beginning to end , the film keeps moving and kept me interested through just bout every minute. The finale is a satisfying conclusion to a rollercoaster ride of a movie. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the, as my wife calls it, “heisty” genre of film.

- Jason

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