Layer Cake

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Daniel Craig fan.  I think he’s a terrific actor and oh so easy on the eyes.  I had never seen the role which apparently helped him land the mantle of  James Bond, that of a middle man drug dealer in LAYER CAKE.  I watched it last night, and it was great.  Really innovative direction, and a script where things just kept getting worse and worse but usually because of human idiocy or frailty, greed and viciousness.  It struck me again how much I love movies.  In a scene where hero is listening to a recorded conversation between his boss and another crime lord, and it’s clear hero is getting sold out, the director cut away from the man in a car listing to a recording to actually showing moments of that meeting.  Yes, it messes with the time line but it makes everything feel so powerful and immediate.

When two of the thugs finally admit they shot this other pair of thugs because the screaming woman finally just drives the laconic thug nuts — we get to see the moment rather than hear about it.  I can try a flashback in a book, but it won’t be as visceral and powerfully presented as in a visual.  And constantly setting scenes in the room where Colm Meaney is always freezing meat and fish, and the looming presence of the giant chest freezer is perfectly done and pays off later.  They hung a freezer over the mantelpiece and they didn’t let me down.

I will say I have now watched three movies in which they are basically no women — TRAINING DAY, ALIEN NATION and LAYER CAKE.  I’m not sure if there’s a solution to this or if these kind of movies are just essentially very male.  It is on my mind because of the film on which I’m currently working.

 

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You know from the start the goal held by the hero — he wants out.  An early retirement to enjoy his ill gotten gains, and at the end you think he’s going to make it, but no.  Again human frailty, jealousy this time, leaves him shot, bleeding and dying on the steps of the exclusive smoking club.  It was a perfect ending because having entered the snake pit there was no way our hero was going to exit unscathed.

My pleasure at this ending (although they killed Daniel Craig my favorite hottie, how could they?  Sniff.) made me realize that I have nothing against unhappy endings if they are integral to the story and the characters.  In this case  it was the appropriate ending echoing back to the constant refrain — “It will all end in tears.”

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Who knows most, doubts most. — Robert Browning (1812-1889)

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