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.
Scott Lawlor says
Layer Cake is excellent. Thanks so much for highlighting it for others that may have missed it!
Definitely overlooked. I was surprised that this was Vaughn’s first film. It is a very confidently made picture ….
Jack Deth says
Hi, Iluv and company:
Superb choice for an overlooked classic!
Daniel Craig is excellent. Colm Meany is great with a surprising evil streak. As is Michael Gambon. With a memorable cast, especially Dexter Fletcher and Burn Gorman as underlings going out their way to make names for themselves.
Solid film from top to bottom!
Yes, I even liked Sienna Miller in this one. That is quite something 🙂
You are so right. The entire cast top to bottom was on the money!
I haven’t seen this in forever, but I remember hoping after seeing the film that Craig would break out. I’m so glad he did.
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Is this really overlooked? I thought a lot of people saw and like this one. I almost saw this as we rented it but for some reason I couldn’t watch it but my hubby did. He said it’s a good thing I didn’t see it as it was quite violent. I do think after seeing Vaughn’s two other films that he’s a really good director.
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Like Obi-Wan told Luke (I paraphrase): it all depends on your point of view. My reading about the Layer Cake’s initial reception is that it still has cult status and is not fully in the mainstream. The same can be said about Kick-Ass. By my estimation Vaughn’s first mainstream entry is First Class.