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Layer Cake

Mathew Vaughn

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Published September 15, 2005.
Layer Cake
Directed by: Mathew Vaughn
(Sony Pictures Classics)
Matthew Vaughn produced all of Guy Richie’s films: he certainly knows his way around this new brand of British crime movie. He’s got the chiselled, unnamed lead (Daniel Craig), a businessman in a world of drug dealing, a guy who wants to make his money and get out. Might there be a few hitches in his final week of the criminal life? You think? The convoluted script, adapted by JJ Connolly from his novel, deftly shuffles a stolen shipment of ecstasy, a dozen or so characters of varying nastiness and a token fatale. The problem is with the tone. Our nameless fellow is in one scene cold and calculating, in another impulsive, and yet another boned by guilt. We never get or care who he is. Vaughn goes for the giddy, escapist thrills while slipping in the crime-doesn’t-pay polemic like the tongue of an overeager suitor. Alternate endings on the DVD prove he couldn’t make up his mind. Next time, he should stick to what he does quite well, the fun and games—the rest is hypocrisy.
- Carsten Knox

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