Layer Cake movie review, Matthew Vaughn, Daniel Craig, Kenneth Cranham, Dexter Fletcher, Colm Meaney, Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon. Review by Rob Blackwelder ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'Layer Cake'
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"Layer Cake"
3.5 stars
105 minutes | Rated: R
WIDE: Friday, May 20, 2005
Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Starring Daniel Craig, Kenneth Cranham, Colm Meaney, Dexter Fletcher, Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon, Sally Hawkins, Jamie Foreman, Jason Flemyng


The first time I saw this film was on video, so no worries about it losing any punch!

  • Daniel Craig
  • Colm Meaney
  • Sienna Miller
  • Michael Gambon
  • Jamie Foreman
  • Jason Flemyng

  •  LINKS for this film
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    Stimulatingly twisty crime-drama features sharp filmmaking and wry, star-making turn by Daniel Craig

    By Rob Blackwelder

    A stylish, dynamic thicket of thorny underworld twists and deceptions, "Layer Cake" stars Daniel Craig ("Road to Perdition," "Enduring Love") in a charismatically dodgy performance as "a businessman whose commodity happens to be cocaine."

    Beginning with a voice-over that provides cheeky insight into the savvy it takes to stay ahead in Britain's organized-crime drug trade, he sets the stage for a story full of unexpected sharp edges that make it increasingly unlikely his character will ever reach his stated goal of early retirement.

    "You know why people like you can't leave this business? You make too much money for people like me," says Craig's boss (Kenneth Cranham), an uncouth kingpin who puts on country-club airs as he intimidates our anonymous hero (whose name is never mentioned) into a job way out of his depth -- hunting down an associate's sexy, strung-out missing daughter.

    But the girl is barely a jumping-off point for the stimulatingly byzantine plot of "Layer Cake," in which one stupid mistake by an irresponsibly flashy small-time associate who calls himself "The Duke" (Jamie Foreman) begins a domino effect of revelations, double-crosses, paybacks and bursts of violence -- all of which come tumbling down on Craig's head.

    Directed with agile, sharp-witted panache by Matthew Vaughn (producer of "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels") -- and given a suave visual signature by production designer Kave Quinn ("Trainspotting"), editor Jon Harris ("Snatch") and cinematographer Ben Davis -- "Layer Cake" is a feast of cunning filmmaking.

    But it's also a tour de force for Craig, whose name is now being bandied about as a possible successor to the role of James Bond. He does a sublime job of inviting you into his character's head, first with his pointedly wry opening narration, then with his ability to subtly show how his nerves are further frayed each time he's sideswiped by escalating twists that will bury him if he doesn't turn the tables on someone but quick.

    "Layer Cake" can be eye-crossingly complex at times -- I think I need to see it again to fully wrap my head around its many tiers of duplicity. But then, the film is so succulently crafty and tantalizing I want to see it again anyway.

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