This week’s ‘overlooked’ selection is the 2004 feature Layer Cake, which is based on a novel of the same title by J. J. Connolly (he also adapted the screenplay). Layer Cake marked the auspicious debut of Matthew Vaughn’s (Kick Ass, XMen First Class) directorial debut. The all-star cast includes a pre-Bond Daniel Craig, Sienna Miller and Michael Gambon.
Daniel Craig stars as the unnamed protagonist XXXX, a drug dealer who is pulled in to do one final favor for an associate prior to his retirement.
This ‘assignment’ leads him into the increasingly complex and perilous London underworld; the irony being that this is a world that up until this point, he has been able to successfully avoid.
I first saw this film around the time that Craig was announced as the next 007. Having not heard of Craig prior to the announcement, I took it upon myself to do a little research and check out a couple of films in his filmography.
I subsequently prepared to watch Layer Cake with the lowest of expectations. In fact, when I read the movie synopsis, I almost immediately dismissed this a yet another one of those ‘guns ‘n geezers’ offering in the style of Guy Ritchie. As coincidence would have it, Vaughn produced two Ritchie features – Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. While there is definitely the common strain of crime thriller to the proceedings, in the case of Layer Cake, as the title suggests, there are many strata to be rervealed as the story progresses. And for all the intensity and violence of the film, there are some moments of levity that arrive at the right moments.
Layer Cake is a slick, sharply written ensemble piece that is sure to entertain.
Please be sure to check out other overlooked titles at Todd Mason’s blog.