A History of Violence and Layer Cake

A quick comment on two films I saw a little while ago:

First of all, A History of Violence was up for some Academy Awards this year and deservedly so.  It was an intriguing drama with a big plot twist – not a just a shocker, but just a big knot that actually made up the plot.   I highly recommend the movie, but have one word of warning: though it looks like a deep, intrigue-filled drama, it is directed by the same guy who did The Dead Zone and the 1986 version of The Fly.  What this means is that while there isn’t a lot of opportunity for a lot of blood and guts, where the opportunity does arise, LOOK OUT!  This guy isn’t messing around.  Lots of blood and lots of lingering close-ups of deep, scary gunshot wounds.  Just be warned – it doesn’t bother me, but it did surprise me at first.

As for Layer Cake… it came up as a recommendation in my Netflix queue and I saw that it starred Daniel Craig, the much-maligned new James Bond.  I was curious what all the hubbub was about, so I gave it a shot. 

First of all, let me say that I think its a great film and I really enjoyed it.  However, while watching it, I’m saying to myself, "this reminds me of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch an awful lot."  Turns out the film was the directing debut from Matthew Vaughn, who was the producer for Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.   Not that its a bad thing – there is nothing wrong with a movie that is actually interesting, multi-layered and captivating with good acting and directing. 

What it did get me wondering is if there now constitutes a small sub-genre: the British amateur crime picture.  Kind of like the American mafia picture, but instead of being about professional criminals, it is about amateur-ish ones in situations that go bad.

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