Wait! This isn’t icing sugar!
Milo here, taking a chill pill.
At this point, I hope we can all agree that Matthew Vaughn is a bit flippin’ good. Personally, I’d consider calling him one of my favourite directors of all time, or at least the 21st century. He’s almost perfected the comedy-action thing with films like Kick-Ass and Kingsman, as well as reviving the X-Men in 2011. However, it was his 2004 directorial debut Layer Cake which brought him, and a certain Mr. Bond, into the limelight.
Like RocknRolla, Layer Cake has quite a convuluted plot which I find hard to explain, but I’ll try my damnedest. Craig plays a nameless, successful cocaine dealer planning an early retirement. However, his plans are scuffled when he is sent to go look for his boss’ old mate’s tearaway daughter and some bellend nicks some powerful ecstacy from some Serbians who think he’s responsible. I know. What follows is a series of very Ritchie-esque capers with the same sort of dark comedic twist you’d expect from the Snatch director.
This was the film that, essentially, made Daniel Craig, as it was his performance in this that convinced Martin Campbell do consider him for Casino Royale, a role which he won and propelled him to superstardom. However, none of that would’ve happened if he was shite in Layer Cake. Good thing he wasn’t, then. As XXXX, Craig portrays a brilliant, engaging narrator and a great protagonist, being both funny and turning up well for the dramatic points in the film.
Joining him is a semi star-studded supporting cast, including Michael Gambon and Colm Meaney. Although he didn’t appear until later on in the film, Gambon is brilliantly captivating and quite mean at points. Around him does the twisty-turny plot flow and he commands it perfectly. I would like to have seen him a bit more, though, really. Colm Meaney, however, as Gene, may have been my favourite performance of the lot. The right-hand man of Jimmy, the big cheese, Meaney brings the tinge of dark comedy that the film used so well, being marvellously entertaining and quipping more than you’d expect, actually.
However, mixed in this performance goodness cake, there are some clusters of flour, which can ruin the texture of a bite. Yeah, I’m using cake metaphors, deal with it. One of the flour clusters in question is Sienna Miller, who I’m really beginning to dislike, if I’m honest. As Tammy, she was, in technical terms, a bit of slag, really. Now, the character’s slagginess is beside the point, Sienna Miller played a slag regardless and she. GOT. ON. MY. TITS. And not in the sexy way.
As I said at the start, Matthew Vaughn’s a bit flippin’ good, in’he?
You can see this through his direction and, particularly, the stellar cinematography in this film. The camera shots pan and swerve, making normal conversations look bloody beautiful, really. Moreover, there is definitely some kind of filter on the camera to give it slightly psychadelic look, which is apt due to the film’s subject matter.
Overall, Layer Cake is a stellar debut for a stellar director. On the whole the performances were great and the overall premise was pretty fun. However, Miller tugged on my testes a bit, not in the sexual way, and I really could’ve just done with more of the film. I mean, it was only 1hr 40mins long.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations