Saturday, 2 June 2012

Layer Cake (2004)

I saw Layer Cake for the first time years ago, and I'd forgotten how cool and slick it was. X-men: First Class and Kick Ass director Matthew Vaughn combines smart camera angles, long steady-cam sequences and very clever editing along with some brutal violence to create a visually striking and very clever film. The plot zips along at a goodly pace, and while it is not as convoluted as some of Guy Ritchie's gangster film, it has enough revelations and twists along the way to maintain the pace.

Another way to make this a really cool film, is to cast Daniel Craig as the leading character XXXX. Here he is effortlessly cool, always calm, and always wearing amazing clobber; I can't help but think that Barbara Broccoli et al saw him in Layer Cake and thought "That's the next 007". Surrounding Craig is a cast that can more than hold their own; Michael Gambon as crime boss Eddie Temple, Tom Hardy as one of XXXX's associates, George Harris, Colm Meaney, and an unrecognisable Sally Hawkins as a drugged-up girlfriend.

A very entertaining film from rising star director Matthew Vaughn. Clearly those days spent producing Lock, Stock & Snatch had a great impact on him, as Layer Cake is his take on the gangster heist; and as a director's debut film he really hit the ground running. Excellent cast, clever use of the camera, smart plot, some brutal violence and all topped with some lovely moments of black humour. I haven't seen Kick Ass yet, but now I'm very keen to.