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LAYER CAKE  (Widescreen Special Edition)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS:   106 minutes, 14 deleted scenes and  two alternate endings (with optional commentary), film audio commentary, featurette, Q&A with director and Daniel Craig, poster gallery, storyboard comparison

STUDIO:  Sony Pictures Classics/ SPHE

RELEASE DATE:  8-23-2005

The British crime flick is a genre within itself. Whether you have the revenge film GET CARTER (the original starring Micahel Caine) or SNATCH, it always had it's unique touch. LAYER CAKE has it's own flair as it is a densely plotted film that is very wild.

Mr. X (Daniel Craig) is a drug dealer witha a plan- make a certain amount of money and get out of the biz. When he is about to do it, several complications get in his way like find a gangster's drug addict daughter he is told to find and a million hits of Ecstasy that a loud gangster, the Duke, has stolen from a bunch of crazy Serbs. The Serbs have sent a pyscho named the Dragon to deliver the Ecstasy and the Duke to his boss. Also MR. X wants to get in bed with the girlfriend of the Duke's cousin. You get the picture that LAYER CAKE has many layers to it as the drug business also has many layers. Almost every character has a story. Then you have the London crim boss (Michael Gambon) who screws people over because it is just his way of doing business. LAYER CAKE is expertly directed from the shots (like shooting up through a glass coffee table) to the actors (Daniel Craig, Michael Gambon, Sienna Miller, Colm Meany (who always does better film work than his role on the STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE tv series)) to the music (a mix of popular rock music, film score, and a classical piece).  LAYER CAKE is worth multiple viewings.

VIDEO:  2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Lovely Transfer on this movie.  Image detail is good while the colors (and shadow values) are fantastic.

AUDIO:  English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Dolby Surround

Subtitles, English, Chinese, French, Korean, Thai

Also the audio is great.  Dialogue is easy to hear while the sound elements make the most out of the 5.1 DD.

SPECIAL FEATURES:  LAYER CAKE has a great group of extras.  The 14 deleted scenes are fascinating to see what gets cut when teh movie is getting molded due to editing and reshoots while the two alternate endings don't thrill me (the theatrical ending doesn't impress me much- the only flaw of LAYER CAKE).  An impressive poster gallery for all the posters they designed while trying to nail down what they were going to use (I think some of the posters they didn't use would have made a better cover for this DVD than what they ended up using).   The six minute MAKING OF LAYER CAKE is a good piece of promo fluff.   The audio commentary for the movie (with writer J.J. Connolly and director Matthew Vaughn) has to be admired for the comment that says tough if you don't get the movie's plot after two viewings.  Bravo!

FINAL ANALYSIS:  LAYER CAKE is a wild dense movie with plenty of stuff to like.   The DVD has a nice assortment of extras.  rent it.  if you love the movie, buy it.

this DVD Review is (c)9-3-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except excerpts).  Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://wwww.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia