“Layer Cake” is another one of the new wave of British gangster films that are all the rage. Director Matthew Vaughn knows this all too well as he served as producer on “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” as well as “Snatch,” both of which seem to have spearheaded the movement. While “Layer Cake” is nowhere near as attention deficit disordered as the other films mentioned, it still kind of feels like the same old same old.
Daniel Craig plays an unnamed drug dealer looking to get out of the bizz. The only problem is, his big time boss Jimmy doesn’t want that to happen. In order to keep Mr. Unnamed Drug Dealer in his grasp, Jimmy sends him on an errand to find the drug addled daughter of one of his associates. As if this isn’t bad enough, Jimmy also asks him to unload one million ecstasy tablets along the way.
Daniel Craig does a good job with the lead character. He’s funny and cool and comes off as a sort of British Steve McQueen. I also thought the story was a nice blend of classic film noir with a sort of “Scarface” meets “The Godfather” sensibility. However, when all is said and done and we figure out who’s screwing who over and why, it just doesn’t seem to matter.
I think the problem may be that everyone is just too even keeled throughout the film. There’s this sort of existential detachment in everyone which is what reminded me of the classic film noirs. However in those, it was usually just the lead character who was detached, not the whole cast. Even when a character like Morty, the one played by George Harris goes off, I never really cared. It just seemed like a cool thing to do for the sake of the audience.
“Layer Cake” is by no means a “bad” film. In fact, there’s some great dialogue and some really intriguing scenes. Yet as a whole, it just seems like we’ve seen it all before.