Sunday, June 05, 2005

Rewind: What wasn't "Layer Cake" bigger?

With a considerable delay, I just caught "Layer Cake" in a local cinema. Based on a popular novel by John J. Connolly (and adapted to the screen by the man himself), the film is a successful attempt at bringing new life to the British gangster genre. Stylish, well directed (by the producer of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"), it boasts an enigmatic lead (Daniel Craig), a strong support cast, an intricately-woven plot and overall a great feel to it. Reviews have averaged at 7/10, which can't be bad (I'd go for an 8). So why didn't it do better? Although there are some plot points that stretch the disbelief at times and Colm Meaney is not half as mean as he should be, I might suggest that a major reason is the name itself. What the flick is a Layer Cake? Reference is made to it in the film, but it's hardly a phrase that is known in the UK. So how about Europe - which I think should have lapped up a chance to indulge in some masterful UK story-telling? Could a title really be that important? In this case, I'd say so. It might seem a bit on-the-nose, but even something as obvious as "White Lines" would have been far easier for people to grasp. The film is also done a dreadful dis-service by the trailer, that seems to have been produced using all the factory pre-sets - unike the film. Ultimately, I think it failed as not enough people were drawn into the cinema to see it, which sounds glaringly obvious. But early word of mouth would surely have brought "Layer Cake" much further. It's a shame to see such an engaging film actually being undersold.

"Layer Cake" on Amazon UK
Layer Cake on Amazon US

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