(kr) wrote: Believe it or not, there was a time when Matthew Vaughn and Daniel Craig were not house hold names. Sure Mr Craig had been in the industry for a considerable time, doing what some would call mediocre work and Vaughn spent his time producing films for Guy Ritchie, Ritchie happening to be the one passing up this opportunity, for reasons best known to himself. Long term producer Vaughn grabbed the reigns for his directorial debut and by Jesus is it one hell of a roller coaster ride, not only worth seeing but quite possibly worth owning. Mr XXXX is a clean cut, smart man, who sells vast quantities of cocaine on behalf of a big Mob leader called Jimmy. He runs his operation his way, has a plan and always sticks to it, working only with friends and trustees. When Jimmy decides to ask Mr XXXX to take one 2 jobs for him, both of which are slightly out of the ordinary and well beyond his jurisdiction of rules, Mr XXXX and his friends soon find themselves attached to the biggest carnival ride of back stabbing, hitmen, drug dealing and head hunting ever conceived to paper. Add on top a super dry whit and typical cockney slang, peppered with a cast that would make critics blow their own heads off in disbelief in the modern day, it is actually bamboozeling to think why Guy Ritchie turned this film down. Regardless, i'm glad he did, because Vaughn gets the subject matter, he gets the style, he adds a visual flair that pays homage, while totally outdoing Ritchie and of course he manages to hold what could easily be a conviluted mess in place for almost 2 hours and never once does it bore or stop surprising. Its a common times, casting agents wet dream, Daniel Craig, Colm Meany, Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy, Sienna Miller, Ben Wishaw and Dexter Fletcher too name but only a few, Let me start by saying everyone in this film is beyond stellar, everyone knows their place in the ensemble, they all work brilliantly together and they all know the exact tones and performances to give in order to keep this a serious but highly entertaining black gangster comedy. The visual aspect has not dated in a decade, it oozes style, finesse, flair, dynamic shots, a colour palette to die for, wonderful locations, brilliant angles and superb use of transitions, that would put star wars to shame. The sound track is equally brilliant, with a best of British vibe to it with the likes of the rolling stones and the cult, to more electronic i.e. frankie knuckles. It all works brilliantly and when the score is taken into account, it never jars, its never heavily reliant on the music, it just adds the cherry on top. The editing is of a supreme quality and the script is as tightly crammed as a ducks arse. So whats wrong with it? Well the film twists and turns and flips you on your head so many times, it is at points either hard to keep your footing or just hard to believe that much could go wrong. Even up to the last frame, things are constantly surprising and changing, and while this is extremely good that its impossible to guess where the fuck you will come from next, some viewers may find it just a little hard to keep up with. It also has a slight issue with certain characters, a lot of people dont get enough screen time here and a lot of exposition is done via voice over, I understand that helps the pacing and the slick style, but characters will come and go, only to become the lynch pin 50 minutes later, its a minor gripe and one that will always come up with massive casts. Layer Cake is classy, funny, brutal, hypnotic, unpredictable and constantly fresh. It is a wonder of UK cinema and a highly, highly underrated film.