A Film Review By Jason L. King
Rating:Rated R for strong brutal violence, sexuality, nudity, pervasive language and drug use.
Starring:Daniel Craig, Sienna Miller
Directed By:Mathew Vaughn
It’s hard to find a good old authentic crime film anymore. The scripts usually suffer and the budget is wasted on big stars, big guns, and big explosions. A good plot is put aside to compensate for a big heist, an even bigger screw job and most of the time a moronic plot twist. That’s why I admit to getting giddy when a crime film with potential comes along. That’s why I was just itching to see the new Matthew Vaughn Film, Layer Cake.
Based on a book by JJ Conolly of the same name, Layer Cake tells the story of a young British drug dealer who is headed for an early retirement. That is until mob boss Jimmy Price asks him to do one final job, to find a girl named Charlotte Ryder for him. He soon finds himself through headlong into a mix up with a group of Neo Nazis, a huge ecstasy deal, and an angry double crossing mob boss all while trying to find a girl that doesn’t want to be found.
Mathew Vaughn teamed up with the producers of “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and recruited the help of up and coming British actor Daniel Craig to fill the shoes of the nameless main character. Craig who has stared in Road To Perdition, Sylvia and Enduring Love just to name a few films is rapidly growing a fan base in England and is finally starting to cross over into the US. Craig’s name has even been attached to a James Bond role in the future, but then again other than Sylvester Stallone, whose name hasn’t been attached to the sex charged super spy role? I’ve always thought Craig is a great actor and it very nice to see him finally get a lead role in a great film. With More time he will be a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood.
The script flows quickly and easily from scene to scene and is pretty easy to follow. There is a lot going on in the film and Vaughn does his best to get it all captured on camera and tries to keep everyone’s head from spinning. Vaughn does a great job on scenes where there is not a lot going on, but his film falters at any huge action sequences. Vaughn was attached to the latest X-Men Sequel but he recently backed out. After watching Layer Cake I think I am glad he did. With more experience I think he will fine-tune his skill but as for now, It could still use a little work. The high action scenes felt like he was flailing about like a fish out of water.
The biggest disappointment to me about the film is the changed ending. In order to give it more of a Scarface like appeal, the film adapts a slightly different ending than the book. As a fan of the book I felt cheated, but I think even someone who hasn’t read the book will feel cheated as well. Up until the end of the film, Vaughn does a nice job of following the story pretty closely, but he stumbles at the end. The ending they provide works, it just It wasn’t executed very well and feels like a cheap cop out ending, the type of ending you put on a film that you don’t really know how to end.
None the Less, Layer Cake is a great film. I enjoyed it beginning to end, and yes while I admit this is my favorite genre, the acting alone is what makes this film enjoyable. Craig puts on an outstanding performance and for those boys who are starting to drool over British Actress Sienna Miller (Alfie) there is some great eye candy in there as well. Layer Cake may not be the big summer blockbuster, but it’ definitely deserves to be looked at. Head out the theaters and enjoy. And if it’s not at a theater near you, pick it up on a rental shelf in the future.