Thursday, January 26, 2006

Layer Cake

Columbia Pictures Industry
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Length: 106 min.
Format: DVD
Date Viewed: 25 January

It's a shame that first-time director Matthew Vaughn is being compared to hack director Guy Ritchie. Vaughn, in his one film, has shown far more talent than Ritchie has shown in his three (though I didn't see Swept Away because I'm not an idiot).

Vaughn gives us a confidently made crime film, utilizing stylization to suit the story as opposed to the other way around as most crime films do these days. The fantastic cinematography and seamless editing allow for a pacing that flows smoothly from start to end. The soundtrack, culled from must have been Vaughn's collection as a young man, is great and the songs very well chosen to fit their scenes.

The performances are also consistently strong. Daniel Craig is excellent here, and plays the lead in an atypical way. He never goes to bed with a woman, hates guns and gets extremely upset when he has to use one (though his playacting as Bond was rather funny) and gets obviously overwhelmed when the stakes are raised too high for his taste.

The script lets us down sometimes, though, dropping certain plot lines without notice and gets a bit too confusing during certain key scenes around the half-way mark (which is perhaps due to my limited understanding of British slang). The wraps everything up fairly tidy by the end, though, and the last scene, while it may understandingly frustrate many, was perfect for this type of story.

This is a very good film overall, and I am already excited for Vaughn's next film, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust.


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