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  • Layer Cake
    • Layer Cake
    • Runtime:105 min
    • Release Date:2017-01-17 12:18:50
    • Director: Matthew Vaughn
    • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
    • Studio:


Do not be put off by mediocre reviews of this film. For those who want
their crime drama to include glib one-liners and explosions at every
turn, there is a plethora of yank trash out there. A subtle, clever and
superbly cast and acted film is more of a rarity and 'Layer Cake'
undoubtedly falls into this category. From the storyline, script and
cinematography right through to the acting and soundtrack, the film is
refreshingly accomplished. Daniel Craig and Michael Gambon are worthy
of the much-bandied but rarely-deserved 'great' description and the
supporting cast competent and engaging. Clever seamless flow from one
shot to the next keep the atmosphere alive throughout the film and it's
gritty London feel will please the Brit-flick fan. The varied
soundtrack features superb ambient contributions from Ilan Eshkeri and
Lisa Gerrard (whose aria is superb)and more mainstream tracks from The
Cult and Joe Cocker. At the closing credits, the discerning film fan
will get that 'No, I want more' feeling and the inevitable
disappointment that films of this class are so few and far between.


*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One narrative form is the con story. All of these folding tricks are
there to engage the viewer, to trick him or her into investing in the
story. The idea is that some important things you understand about the
story, your platform for existence in the world you have entered, will

The representation is that they never were true, and that would be the
case in the real world. But in the world of fiction this is a game you
play with the writer for control over the causal dynamics of the world.
You can win by besting him in creating the world, something that is
allowed in the noir paradigm where the characters are at the mercy of
dynamics created for our narrative needs. We know this is noir from the
first few seconds with the narration and are reminded in the last few
seconds where the character looks straight at you and says he is
smarter than you.

That's the form. All else is a matter of negotiation, and that largely
is a balance of how radically the writer can shift while staying within
the larger rules of the world. For instance, if we are shown that
something was all a dream with no warning, we get frustrated.
Everything has to be fair within the set of rules we agree to in the
game; sometimes the on-screen "detective" is also a negotiator in the
rules. Often, as here, he is on the side of the writer, playing the

I found this to be on the far end of acceptable in terms of the shifts.
They were only a bit clever, and they cheated a bit too much.

The rules, you see, are inherited from the rules among crooks. So all
the shifts come from us moving from one world of crook ethics to
another: we have the calm, friendly business world of our hero, the
chaotic world of some junior opportunists, the simple violence of
Serbian drugmakers, and the inner world of the upper class club.

The film is episodic movements through these worlds, each one coloring
not only what happens but how the rules of what happens shift. This is
a gamble by the writer, one that barely works. But it is clever, so

Ted's Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


I have had the DVD for this movie for years and never got round to
watching it until last night. I like Daniel Craig a lot, ever since Our
Friends in the North and was always going to view this "soon". But I
did not and it was my loss. We watched it open-mouthed at the
convoluted plot and the excellent performances by just about everyone
in this great thriller/gangster movie. Matthew Vaughan is a terrific
director and it would have been so easy to make a complete mess of such
a complicated cast of characters, all vying to double-cross, cheat and
otherwise screw up their colleagues and friends. I thoroughly enjoyed
Layer Cake from beginning to surprising end. I recommend it highly to
anyone that enjoys movies of a more intelligent level than the awful
Transformers and it's ilk (I have no problem with sfx movies-they just
have to have some intelligence in them). L4yer Cake is a roller-coaster
and you will be astonished at the twists and turns it takes through the
telling of a twisted tale. Oh, and it has a great selection of tunes
which it uses to great effect throughout. Check out the use of Duran
Duran's "Ordinary World". This film portrays an extraordinary world.
Kudos to all involved in it.

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