Director - Matthew Vaughn
Layer Cake is the film which bridged Vaughn's 2 careers. Moving away from the go-to producer for London gangster films (though he does still have his hand in them) to become....
Layer Cake might still be in the genre which Vaughn was most familiar with, but - for a first film - it highlights a lot of style and prowess. And yet, you can see that he has learnt from the directors he has been around, and whilst his films are stylish and visually impressive, they lack the gimmicky feel that is present in Guy Ritchie's gangland films. Instead he lets the occasional visual flourish wrap itself around a twisty turny story of deals gone wrong, double crossing, crossed wires and other 'heist gone wrong' cliches. In fact, the only real constant I can think of in Vaughn's films is the casting of Jason Flemyng in tiny tiny roles.
Where this film really blossoms, is in the cast. There are some excellent turns in this and there was one real star. Now, whilst I enjoyed watching Owen Harper off Torchwood and Kingsley Shacklebolt and Nathan's Dad off Misfits - for me every second of his screentime was stolen by the might Michael Gambon. There is just something about old British actors and their old British voices that make them so hypnotic.... and he was amazing. He is menacing (but nowhere near the menace he puts into Farmer Bean) and yet you kind of understand him and his motivation.
And yet, the film's real perk is the excellent role from Daniel Craig.... playing the every-man and yet still showing a little bit of his pre-Bond bad-ass ness.... And yet, despite being a bad ass he still gets the shit constantly kicked out of him, which shows that there are always badder asses in the world....
And of course - he takes his top off so he can show off his muscley muscles.
Whilst I'm on the subject of Bond I want to talk about something which COULD BE CONSIDERED A SPOILER.
So if you don't want to know about endings and stuff.... stop reading now and be safe in the knowledge that I enjoyed this film.
However.... (and I did bloody warn you) - As Daniel Craig's nameless protagonist dies on the steps, following a cocky pun about his name... I couldn't help thinking of how it was almost a glorious reversal of the ending to Casino Royale... XXXX's death at the hands of the man who's girlfriend he 'stole' is a rather fitting echo of Bond killing the agent (even in a similar place, the steps of a grand house) for what the agents did to Vespa.