Cakewalk on the Wild Side

This British crime thriller centers on a nameless drug dealer (Daniel Craig), who is assigned to find the following: a missing daughter of the boss’ associate and a buyer for a stash of Ecstasy. This is supposed to be his last job before retirement, but in these kinds of movie, complications always arise. I was waiting for the guy say, “Just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in.”

What I dig about “Layer Cake” is its knowledge of its underworld. In an earlier monologue, our level-headed protagonist upholds his prudent rules for success in the business. Nevertheless, it is an unstable business, since gangsters are always jostling for the top spot in the hierarchy and the movie smartly mimics this by stacking one layer of story after another. Now, the challenge from such layered storytelling is never losing the audience; unfortunately, there are a couple of times when my friends and I were lost. I attribute this to the film’s very British flavor. Sure enough, the characters are speaking English, but they’re sometimes incomprehensible. I liked the British cast though. Daniel Craig is fascinating to watch, especially when his he-who-shall-not-be-named character try to device or deceive his way out of the mishaps. Michael Gambon (Dumbledore No. 2 of “Harry Potter” films), who plays the father of the missing daughter, has a jolt of a presence when he enters the screen. And Sienna Miller, who first appears purely as a movie visual, becomes an important factor to the movie’s bloody good ending. “Layer Cake” is indeed good, but it would’ve been more tasty if I’m a Brit, innit?

Grade: B

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