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Movie Review: Layer Cake

Alternate Title: No Honor Among Thieves

Story: If you like stylish, dark, at times comic, often violent, British films about the gangster underworld and don't mind missing some of the dialogue because of thick English accents - then this film is for you.

The main character is a cocaine drug dealer, whose position is somewhere in the middle of the criminal hierarchy. He is smooth, careful and has a plan to get out of the racket but of course, the best laid plans usually go awry. He is called upon by the boss for one last job and the shit hits the fan. Double crosses, triple crosses and more plot twists and turns than you can imagine come rolling across the screen. You must pay attention if it all is to make sense by the end of the film.

It is the directorial debut of producer Matthew Vaughn (Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel and Snatch) and is based on the novel and script by JJ Connelly.The writing is tight, fast paced and the cinematography graphically interesting. The scenes are mostly filmed in steely blues and grays except for some startling scenes with intense color. A nice contrast, indeed.

Acting: One of my new favorites is Daniel Craig. He is smooth, intense and quite a physical presence onscreen. There is rumor that he is on the short list of potential James Bonds. Michael Gambon is always good. The entire ensemble is right on the money and a special mention goes to Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien of Star Trek) who actually has a life after the much beloved series.

Predilection: I like Daniel Craig.

Food: One violent scene is preceded by a very large breakfast of eggs, bacon, beans and fries.

Soundtrack: A snappy bunch of tunes including some by The Rolling Stones, Duran Duran and the The Cult.

Opening Titles: A clever introduction to our main character.

Theater Audience: Only three other people.

Squirm Scale: There are a few violent scenes that might make you squirm. Crime is not pretty.

Drift Factor: Drifting is not a good idea in this fast paced multi layered tale.

Predictability Level: I was surprised at the ending.

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: Subtitles would have been a good addition during parts of the film.

Big Screen or Rental: Probably rental would be fine. For some other Daniel Craig films try renting: Enduring Love, Sylvia, The Mother, Road to Perdition, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, I Dreamed of Africa, Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, Elizabeth: The Virgin Queen and The Power of One.

Length: Under two hours