Wednesday, October 6, 2010

'Layer Cake' is a trip through criminal chaos

Layer Cake (aka L4yer Cake) (2004)
Starring: Daniel Craig, George Harris, and Colm Meany
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

A successful cocaine dealer (Craig) is about to retire when he is drawn into a power struggle between two crime lords and a race to dispose of one million high-potency Ecstasy tables stolen from eastern European mobsters.

"Layer Cake" is a humor-tinged crime drama of the variety where everything can go wrong will go wrong for our "hero." It's well acted and well-written, and whether or not Craig's nameless, affable drug dealer will successfully extricate himself from the ever-deeping troubles that are arising on his final days in the business actually remains in doubt almost to the very end of the film. The balance between suspense and humor is maintained throughout in a fabulous fashion.

The film is from some of the same behind-the-camera talent that brought us "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels." The humor has been dailed back a bit, and it takes place at a level further up the criminal food chain than the other two films--so there aren't quite as many idiots running around--but if you enjoyed those other films, I think you'll like this one, too.

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