Layer Cake
Credit: Layer Cake: Daniel Smith

Those who know first-time director Matthew Vaughn’s résumé — he produced Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch — might expect his own gangster entry to be full-tilt wacky. Instead, as the unnamed coke-dealing protagonist, Craig (Enduring Love), emphasizes in voice-over, this is an underworld where low-profile discretion is everything and flamboyance is deadly. It’s smooth operators like Craig and his capped volcano of a middleman, Harris (Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s Katanga), who give Layer Cake its richness. EXTRAS The director’s commentary with writer J.J. Connolly and a Q&A with Vaughn and Craig explain, among other things, how a little-indie-that-could managed to nab a Stones tune for its soundtrack and sweet-talk fashion label FCUK into lending its name for, incredibly, mock narcotics packaging. Meanwhile, you can practically picture Vaughn rolling his eyes as he notes in the deleted-scenes section, ”This is the wonderful ending that we were forced to film by Sony.” Luckily, he prevailed: It’s an egregious wimp-out that would have negated the story’s deglamorizing parting shot.

Layer Cake
  • Movie
  • 110 minutes