Published Jun 01, 2005What's a talented guy like Matthew Vaughn doing making a sausage like Layer Cake? He has a decent amount of visual capability, he seems very good with actors and he knows how to keep things moving without stumbling or being patchy. But as the ex-producer of Guy Ritchie, he's clearly a man without taste, and so he throws his skills away on yet another nouveau gangster melodrama without a shred of content or connection to reality.
Daniel Craig plays a nameless drug-runner who apparently thinks he's smarter than the wannabes by playing things quiet; unfortunately, he proves so effective at making money that he is a) sent to rescue crime lord Michael Gambon's wayward daughter, and b) mop up a massive deal for Ecstasy that's trickier than it looks. Leaving aside Craig's solid lead turn and Gambon's expert scene-stealing, there's not much going on in J.J. Connolly's script, which plays more like the wannabes than the professionals it so clearly idolises. Despite its insistence that it's telling you the bitter truth about the drug trade, it's so wrapped up in flaunting cash and scoring chicks that it blows its cover immediately.
The film is Goodfellas as told to Maxim magazine, with some fortune cookie wisdom thrown in to assure you that you're not just watching lifestyle porn, and Vaughn marks time by tossing around Tony product-placement and ladling on digital transitions just because he can.
I suppose that given the genre, it was inevitable that Layer Cake would be sexist and homophobic, but it's also childish and witless, wasting a cool stylist on hoary clichés that don't fit the appeals to a reality check. (Mongrel Media)