A review of “Layer Cake” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ****

Rating: R for excessive language and violence

Run Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

 

 

Dashing leading man Daniel Craig sinks his teeth into this snap, crackle, pop mobster classic and holds on with kinetic gusto.

In the words of our unnamed hero (Craig as xxxx): make hay while the sun shines.  He’s an ordinary businessman whose chief commodity happens to be cocaine and he’s milking every moment.

Even the pleasurable perks of the chemical market can wear thin and xxxx wants out as he rationalizes in droll voice over. Not as easy as it seems considering the tangled web of deceit and betrayal that twists its way through an anxious pecking order of manly mobsters; from the lowliest pusher to the master middle-man living high on the hog on his English estate.

Tension mounts as our sexy opportunist navigates his way through one last sticky gig that promises a proper payday.  A coveted shipment of Ecstasy wreaks havoc a la a grisly fallout of hot irons to the chest, bullets to the head (ouch!) and boiling tea poured over the bloody pulp of a former stooge. A sideline missing-persons case adds an intricate tier to the layered narrative.

Who’s who of British bad boys pepper the landscape with hip and happening attitudes – Michael Gambon (as the sinuously philosophical Eddie Temple), Colm Meaney, Kenneth Cranham, etc. A Serbian maniac in hot pursuit of xxxx and his sketchy cache shifts plot friction into overdrive.

Director Matthew Vaughn’s convulsive underworld writhes with heat. A sexy seduction scene set to the Stones’ moody “Gimme Shelter” is one of a fistful of show stealers.  Craig is magnificent; virile, charismatic, and utterly inscrutable as the man with the plan.