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Moriarty Tries A Slice Of LAYER CAKE And Likes It!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

I first met Matthew Vaughn a couple of years ago. Harry and I had lunch with him and with Guy Richie. They hadn’t finished SNATCH yet, and neither of them seemed particularly interested in hard-selling us the movie. Instead, the conversation was more about movies in general. At the time, I never would have guessed that Vaughn had any interest in directing.

I certainly never expected that he’d be better at it than Richie.

LAYER CAKE, adapted by J.J. Connolly from his own novel, is a hard-boiled crime story akin to GET CARTER or THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY. Daniel Craig plays the (intentionally) nameless protagonist of the film, a drug dealer who specializes in cocaine for upper-class posh clientele. He runs a small crew and keeps a low profile, and he’s smart, calculating, sure that he’ll be able to make his nest egg and get out of the game while he’s still a young man. He works for Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham), and one afternoon, he is summoned to Jimmy’s club and asked to do a favor for him. The daughter of another gangster, Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon), has gone missing, and Jimmy wants Craig’s character to track her down safely. Unfortunately, at the same time, a bunch of morons working for The Duke (Jamie Foreman) steals a ton of Ecstasy pills from some Serbian dealers in Amsterdam, and Craig gets caught up in trying to get rid of the pills against his will, making his other job even harder. Things spiral quickly out of control, and Craig finds himself struggling to stay alive and in one piece.

Sounds familiar, right? And, yes, we’ve seen movies like this before. What distinguishes this from the Guy Richie films, for example, is tone. Daniel Craig plays the lead in this film with a grim, unsmiling manner, and the way the violence and the intensity escalate has real weight to it. It’s an interesting choice to never reveal the character’s name to the audience. He fits the archetype of Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name, but there’s also a bit of a petulant “fuck you” about it, which is completely keeping in character. Craig should benefit tremendously from his work here. He made a strong impression before this in the Sam Mendes film of THE ROAD TO PERDITION as Paul Newman’s son, but that character was weak, deeply flawed. Here, he plays a man of strength and savvy, determined to negotiate this impossible situation. Vaughn’s got a very different visual style than Richie did, thanks to his director of photography Ben V. Davis. It’s much cleaner, less frantic, and he manages to actually make London look beautiful. I’m so used to seeing English crime films set in scummy, filthy urban environments that this feels bold simply by virtue of design. Craig’s surrounded by a strong supporting cast like Gambon, Cranham, Dexter Fletcher, Jason Flemyng, and the outstanding Colm Meany. Sienna Miller, who played such a memorable role in ALFIE, makes a brief appearance here, and even though it’s not much of a role, she is fairly remarkable eye candy. Along with the cinematography, credit must be given to editor Jon Harris, who helps first-time director Vaughn give his film a sleek, polished finish. The score by Ilan Eshkeri and Lisa Gerrard is appropriately moody and chilly, and the songs in the film seem to have been chosen more for their emotional feel than their current hipness, a welcome decision.

The film wraps up all its loose ends in a surprisingly straightforward manner. This isn’t meant to have some giant fabulous twist ending that inverts everything that came before it, and I’m glad. It’s just a good, gritty story, told well. There’s integrity to the film. In the end, I wouldn’t call LAYER CAKE a great film, but I would call it a great directorial debut and a real announcement of what Craig’s capable of as a leading man. Between this and his brand-new baby girl (congratulations, man), everything’s coming up roses for Vaughn right now. I hope it continues when the film gets released by Sony Pictures Classics here in the US next year.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 20, 2004, 8:26 p.m. CST


    by AshesOfDonnie

    well this one looks good. can't wait for it to hit the shores here.

  • Nov. 20, 2004, 9:12 p.m. CST

    awful film

    by Brummy Scotty

    just like all the so called brit gangster flicks (barring sexy beast) this is awful. i wish all the poncey middle class directors would lose their hard ons for 'gang chic' and try and make a real film about british life :(

  • Nov. 20, 2004, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Seen it...yes it's dreadful

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    I honestly can't see what Mori saw in this film. It's a typical brit gangster flick that does nothing new and doesn't deserve to be compared to the masterpiece that is Get Carter. Don't expect much more from Ritchie's next offering either, he uses the same recipe over and over. Oh and i'm sick of all these cockney wideboy characters, the real hardcases live in the North of England and Scotland - Southerners are, for the most part, soft as shit and their beer is piss ;)

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 1:06 a.m. CST

    "Daniel Craig plays the (intentionally) nameless protagonist "

    by user id indeed!

    I fucking love that. I really fucking love that. "No, that was no accident! You may think that they wrote a script, filmed it, and didn't realize until the premiere that the main character didn't have a name, but I assure you with the utmost confidence that this was 100% intentional!" You need a sentence like this in every review. "Jean-Pierre Jeunet's new film is set during World War 1 (intentionally)."

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 3:36 a.m. CST

    lets save some time

    by proper

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 3:38 a.m. CST

    lets save some more time

    by proper

    Don't look at me like that you SLLLAAGGS ....

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 4:59 a.m. CST

    No surprise....

    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    about the usual Brit film moans that post Lock Stock...(yadda yadda yadda Brit gangster films sux)....well you know what Layer Cake doesnt,actually its quite good..maybe not of the same quality as Get Carter or Long Good Friday but its certainly not total crap either...

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Brummy Scotty

    by Koji Kabuto

    "i wish all the poncey middle class directors would... ...try and make a real film about british life" What, like Mike Leigh? or Ken Loach? Or Bill Forsyth? No fucking thanks. Britain is depressing enough without some cock reminding us with every bloody film they make just how miserable life here is. Frankly, I'm grateful for the escapism of Lock Stock, Snatch, and Layer Cake. Why do you think films like 28 Days Later, Dog Soldiers, and Sean of the Dead have been such successes? Because they're british films that don't harp on about how bollocks Britain is. They'll throw it in there as a setting, yes, but they don't ram it down your fucking throat until you feel nauseous. Screw that.

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 12:06 p.m. CST

    What a stupid...

    by DocPazuzu

    ...fucking thing to argue about. Kitchen sink realism vs Brit gangster flick escapism. Give me a fucking break. There's plenty to enjoy on both sides. I love Snatch as much as Nil By Mouth, but obviously for very different reasons. You one-track wonders always do this shit for the same reason: to pretend you have some sort of divine insight into what constitutes "art" or "entertainment" or "socially conscious". You always label it loudly and to the exclusion of any other subject/genre/title/franchise you pretend to hate for the sake of appearances. Well, I've got news for you dumbasses -- nobody buys it, mmm'kay? There's not a soul anywhere in your vicinity who is impressed with your "incisiveness." You can't actually believe you'll convert anyone to your way of thinking, so the only reason for your sad braying must be to pretend you know something other people don't in order to earn some sort of cool points by imaginary people who are in awe of your profound genius and your sublime taste. How pathetic is that?

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 3:34 p.m. CST

    "I first met Matthew Vaughn a couple of years ago. Harry and I h

    by Dr_Zoidberg

    A couple of years ago? Try 5 years (or very close to it). Snatch came out in 2000 (in the UK), so this must have been early 2000. Is that scary? Is time flying past you quicker than you thought? Just think, in a few years you'll need a nurse to change your nappy. As for Layer Cake, I saw it a couple of months back and enjoyed it. I love the comedy in Snatch, but Layer Cake is quite a good "serious" alternative. Still think Snatch is miles better though, only because it's so damn funny, therefore a lot more rewatchable.

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 5:25 p.m. CST

    not seen it yet...

    by rourke

    so cant really comment on the film. Just want to respond to Radical Edward. So the real hardcases live in the North of England do they!? ... hmmmm and how do you know this you muppet? and as for the intelligent remark about 'soft as shit' and 'beer is piss'... well if the temperature of your pint is all you worry about mate you need to get a life... oh and a f#@kin job!

  • Nov. 21, 2004, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Bullshit Movie

    by High Grade 4 Eva

    Don't get me wrong, it has it's moments, but half way thru the film you get this 'UK Carlito's Way' vibe, and then he ends it with a mother fuckin Benny Blanco bit! Oh well, Polar Express rocked, thanks to Mr Hemp!

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Hey Rourke.....

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    Obviously touched a raw nerve about your Cockney machismo there. I'm sorry to have to tell you this but it's a scientifically proven fact that Northerners are, on the whole, a good deal harder than their southern cousins and it's been that way since the dark ages. It's all genetics see; we get most of our genes from Scandanavians thanks to the viking invasion where as in the south the gene pool consists mainly of genes conributed by the invading Normans, basically making most southerners French and we all know about French fighting spirit don't we? As for your remarks about 'getting a job', obviously you don't switch the racing channel over to news enough to realise that the North of England is experiencing a boom at the moment and is not only offering most people in the North higher standards of living than those in the south but we're turning out more college and university graduates than ever before. Top that off with the simple fact that people here are generally more friendly and polite than those in the south,(French again i think), and our cities are cleaner and much more pleasant to walk around without constant fear of being mugged by someone or making phone calls from payphones that aren't littered with contact numbers for Prostitutes. Sure there are one or two nice places 'darn sarf' but face it, most of it's a shithole and the people are fucking pig ignorant, see your last post for an example. Which i suppose, makes it a bit daft when wannabe tough arseholes like Guy Ritchie decide to cast northerners as dumb idiots like he has in Lock Stock and Snatch. My point still stands, you're all soft as shit and yes, your beer DOES taste like piss.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Radical Edward

    by rourke

    Ha ha, that was pretty funny mate.Think I touched a raw nerve with yourself though a little... the job comment, its ok mate something will turn up! ;) I just wanted to respond because I thought this was a movie forum, not some place wankers like yourself can vent their frustrations of being unemployed chavs and living in the north of England! Your comments are pretty laughable though, the bit where your mum got f#@ked by a Viking was quite funny! Didnt realise you loved the French so much maybe you should move over there, would be a damn site more interesting than where you live now. People in London mug you, and are rude to you becuase you are northern Ed, face it, and obviously not hard at all...bottom of the food chain mate... pond life!

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 8:57 p.m. CST

    Thanks for proving my point Rourke

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    See when most cockneys get put in their place they generally try to use their forked tongues to argue their way out of the shitheap of trouble that their mouths got them into in the first place. Infact your over-venemous rant only helped prove my point that 99.9% of you are as ignorant as shit, thick as shit and as soft as shit. I must say i found your chav comment quite amusing too, while this new breed of peasant underclass is quite abundant now i'm afraid that its not a phoenomenon exclusive to the North, i've seen plenty in London too and i've no doubt now, but as most cockneys don't have the brains or ambition to travel as far as Milton Keynes it's not surprising that you know nothing. As for my mother getting screwed by Vikings, it's a damned sight better than the French but i suppose with all the cock she gets turning tricks at Kings Cross you're used to it by now. Finally, my initial post about Northerners was valid about movies; my point being that tossers like yourself make and love the same old shit over and over again with the same fucking stereotypes which are so far removed from the truth it's unreal. I admit the beer jibe was uncalled for but it's true, beer down your way is shite and i it was worth posting just to get a rise out of you; it's a hobby of mine and i can't wait to see what else you come up with. In the meantime keep your chin up, you never know, the council might give you that bigger flat.

  • Nov. 22, 2004, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Over venemous!?

    by rourke

    I couldnt see what was wrong with what I wrote, its all pretty valid. According to your post your Mum is pretty active down at Kings Cross too! Have a read, that bit is quite funny. This obsession with shit you have is rather disturbing, you mention it so much, think you need to go and post on a scat site or something mate!

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 4:56 a.m. CST

    Ed check this out

    by rourke

    had to tell some mates of mine about your post... one of which asked me to forward this to you... its hilarious!.......................... Firstly I would like to point out that there is always a reason why people are portrayed in a certain light, we don't make it up, you give us ammunition and we use it!!! You aren't experiencing a boom in the north of England, the whole country is enjoying the same economic conditions, the fact is that 5 years ago a house in the north of England was realistically valued at 50k now it's worth 100k and the average price of a house is around 100k. In the south the same has happened, although the price of a house five years ago would have been 100k and it's now worth 200k, which incidentally is the average price of a house. What does this tell you? Well done, you are still earning 5hit wages and your so called boom is still trailing behind the fast moving south of England. You have a point, our beer does taste of pi55, but so do the fanny lips of any 'northern lass' that happens to meet a 'trendy southerner' on her home turf, we only have to say 'hello' to your wonderful ladies and they are on there back quicker than a harpooned Japanese boatman. If your wonderful north was anything as good as you claim, why do we constantly have a flow of Neanderthal northern men moving down to London, before they get a job..............clever, then pi55ing an moaning about not getting a high powered job, with 2 gcse's grade F (for F*cking stupid).....oh I wonder. You made another valid point, your universities are turning out more graduates than before, that's because more than half of the places are occupied by southerners, we have learnt that it's cheaper to survive on a 5hit government grant up give the man a cigar, that's why the results have improved, if we left it your lot you'd still be studying 'pit management' and 'whippet social skills', because of southern influence your colleges and universities have a curriculum that well actually aid you in your attempts to get a job. Mobile phones with prostitutes phone numbers in them.......................your point is???? We would much rather spank our loads over an extremely willing young female, than go home and spank our Mrs into oblivion for no reason. However we only use prostitutes when we are unable to find ourselves a game northern bird. So we very rarely call them. Northerners are 'generally more friendly and polite'..........................yeah right, providing you're wearing the colours of the local football team, shouting abuse at women in an accent only understandable by the members of the same stone-age tribe and carrying a bottle of a locally brewed beer in your hand...............have you never been to Blackpool my friend? The fact of the matter is northerners are intimidated by southerners, whenever we are abroad, it's only a matter of time before you bump into a northerner with a few quid in his pocket that wants to tell you how well off he is, then gets the raving hump when you lose interest and don't ask him about his jag with private number plate, or we end up bumping into the Rooney's, the family that see nothing wrong in letting their children run riot around everybody else whilst mum and dad get stuck into their 12th pint by lunch time in Sahara like conditions. They then have the audacity to call us stuck up when we point out that there behaviour is unacceptable....................truth is, they know no different. Why are you so concerned that a film portrays southerners in a more masculine light than northerners? Again you feel intimidated and it gets your back up!! I've lost count of the amount of American movies that portray America as the ultimate race, who f*cking cares, if you let these things get to you then surely you don't have a great deal else in your life!!! Word of advice........................... go down pub, drink 10 pints, get f*cking plastered, go back home, and beat up wife, you dirty northern b*stard!! Mine's a f*ck off!

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 8:49 a.m. CST

    So funny

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    'A constant flow of Neanderthal northern men moving to London?

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Northeners & Southerners

    by folllowthegourd

    This has all got a bit silly and frankly both of you seem to be out of touch from the facts. The idea that northers are 'scientifically' harder than Southeners is hilarious because of some primary school anthropological analysis by Radical Edward. Mate, Southerners are not descended from the Normans. They are Anglo-Saxon as are a good many Northeners, as most of England (the Eng in England is the Ang of the Angles in Anglo-Saxon) was colonised by them during the dark ages. The Normans were just a ruling class elite who lorded over the Anglo-Saxons after 1066. The Vikings colonised the North-East and various parts of Yorkshire, but were defeated several times by the Anglo-Saxons including King Harold in 1066, who also populated those areas. So that scuppers your arguement that Viking genes make northeners 'harder' than southeners. The 'southern' Anglo-Saxons kicked Viking ass several times. Ironically the Normans and the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons all share a bloodline as their Royalty often intermixed. So that basically fucks up your whole simpleton argument. I would basically say that both of you sound like racist ignorant arseholes. Genetically you are probably both the same mix of Anglo-Saxon (who were from Denmark and Northern germany), Celt, Welsh (the original Britons), Norman and Viking (if you're from the north-east). Unless you are Scottish which makes you a mixture of Pict, Celt and Viking, but that's a whole other fucking story. Just for the record my family is from Northumberland and Cumbria but I've lived all my life in London. I'm an Englishman and proud of it and I love every part of my country from Penzance to London to Newcastle.

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 12:46 p.m. CST


    by TheAllSeeingEye

    It's interesting to read the opinions from someone who obviously has an idea of English history but the genetics side of the argument isn't a 'simpleton' theory but scientifically proven by studies performed by the Universities of Leeds and Leicester, conducted to see if there was any foundation for the common belief that northerners were a bit tougher than their southern cousins. For the record, most of the North share genetic ties to the Vikings, a great deal of the south is heavily influenced by the Normans with the Anglo Saxons genetic legacy found mainly in the south east. Look it up if you don

  • Nov. 23, 2004, 6 p.m. CST

    thanks Followthegourd

    by rourke

    for telling Ed his arguement came off the back of a cornflakes pack much like his education, but really who the fuck asked you for your opinion!? or a history lesson whilst Im at it!?... I was enjoying trying to decipher Ed's post, obvious to me he is unable to respond to the Southern rapier witt. Ed really, come on, you can do better than that last post. The previous one from me was gold and youve just proved to me it was all a bit to close to home for you. So go home, beat up your mum, or your bird, slam your whippet and do whatever it is you do, oh and I thought my mate told you to fuck off ?!

  • Nov. 24, 2004, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Rourke, thanks for proving my point AGAIN

    by TheAllSeeingEye

    So now its followthegourd you're having a go at? Nice one..thanks for making my point about cockneys being bell ends again. As for you being a 'wit' i'd suggest you get a little bit of practice in as it's now obvious to everyone that you're not even half a one. Consider yourself, and your mates, owned by this northerner you sad fucking XR3I driving, council estate scumbag.

  • Nov. 24, 2004, 5:41 p.m. CST

    ha ha

    by rourke

    So I am a 'bell end' for having a go at someone am I. Ed look at your original post, who is the one having a go!? (I can see you at your computer trying to work that one out!) Ed you have been very defensive from the start, coupled with your original post 'having a dig' at southeners this finally proves the point: The north/south divide in the UK is perpetuated by dickheads like you. Its people like you that give the north such a bad rep. A couple of my mates, one from Doncaster and the other from Barrow had a look at your posts and were really quite embarressed that people like you still exist. (They also thought your efforts at insulting me were very weak might I add!!!). Also a hatred for the French is quite evident in your posts, quelle supris

  • Nov. 25, 2004, 7:06 a.m. CST

    A Draw

    by folllowthegourd

    I think I've found the solution to your argument. I've given up the historical analysis and have instead applied a scientific meassurement to both of your arguments. The result is that you are both equally a right pair of gob-shite cunts. Let that be an end to it. Now fuck off and do something useful with your lives.