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Layer Cake (2004)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  3 June 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 127,351 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 258 user | 146 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement.



(screenplay), (novel)
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2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brinley Green ...
Paul the Boatman
Dimitri Andreas ...
Garry Tubbs ...
Charlie (as Natalie Lunghi)


A successful cocaine dealer, who has earned a respected place among England's Mafia elite, plans an early retirement from the business. However, big boss Jimmy Price hands down a tough assignment: find Charlotte Ryder, the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy's old pal Edward, a powerful construction business player and gossip papers socialite. Complicating matters are two million pounds' worth of Grade A ecstasy, a brutal neo-Nazi sect and a whole series of double crossings. The title "LAYER CAKE" refers to the layers or levels anyone in business goes through in rising to the top. What is revealed is a modern underworld where the rules have changed. There are no 'codes', or 'families' and respect lasts as long as a line. Not knowing who he can trust, he has to use all his 'savvy', 'telling' and skills which make him one of the best, to escape his own. The ultimate last job, a love interest called Tammy, and an international drug ring threaten to draw him back into the 'cake mix'. ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

drugs | cocaine | pills | serbian | cake | See All (306) »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal violence, sexuality, nudity, pervasive language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 June 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L4yer Cake  »

Box Office


£4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,090,561 (UK) (1 October 2004)


$2,338,695 (USA) (12 August 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (US prints)|


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The song that plays while XXXX and Morty drive to see Jimmy was intended to be a temporary track until something better was found, but the filmmakers liked it so much it remained in the final cut. See more »


After XXXX places the telephone call before being abducted from his apartment by Eddie Temple's thugs, he throws down the cell phone on the bed. In the next shot when Tammy comes out of the bathroom, the cell phone is gone. See more »


[first lines]
XXXX: When I was born, the world was a far simpler place. It was all just cops and robbers.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film lacks a traditional opening title. The title Layer Cake appears ten minutes into the film on a door that XXXX walks through. See more »


Written by Daniel Ormondroyd, Jon Nowell, Hafdís Huld and Jon Collyer
Published by Copyright Control
Performed by FC Kahuna
Courtesy of Skint Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Chameleon Craig Does a Steve McQueen in Brutal But Sleek Thriller
16 July 2005 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

After an art house release everywhere else in the civilized world, LAYER CAKE (LC) unexpectedly premiered in our area, the Lehigh Valley, at the $4 theater in Easton (this joint started as a second-run theater, but it's been getting some acclaimed imports and indies lately, too. Somebody there is a good programmer!). This British import, adapted by J.J. Connolly from his novel, is a taut crime drama that moves with the sleek menace of a tiger. Imagine THE BIG SLEEP with an ever-so-slightly more coherent plot and, as its protagonist, a prosperous, wily drug dealer looking to retire after one last score instead of tough but noble private eye Philip Marlowe. Our hero's problem is that he's a careful, calculating businessman in a dicey business where he's surrounded by loose cannons who shoot, stab, or punch first and ask questions later. Director Matthew Vaughn has been best known as Guy Ritchie's producer, but in his directorial debut Vaughn is like Martin Scorsese to Ritchie's Barry Sonnenfeld (that's meant as a compliment to all concerned, I assure you). It helps that Vaughn gets excellent performances from Daniel Craig as our cool but in-over-his-head unnamed antihero (usually films and books that refuse to name their main character strike me as trying too hard to be clever, but it works here), Michael Gambon nearly stealing the show as a cultured but ruthless narcotics kingpin, Colm Meaney and THE INTERPRETER's George Harris as our protagonist's partners in crime, and many folks from Guy Ritchie's films. Sienna Miller doesn't get to do much beyond being eye candy, but she's tasty eye candy indeed. I'm as heterosexual a gal as they come, but after seeing lithe, leggy Miller strip down to black lingerie and garters, I couldn't help thinking, "That Jude Law is one lucky guy!" :-) One of the things I liked about LC is that the protagonist, while thoughtful and competent, is never quite as clever as he thinks he is; somehow everybody manages to be one step ahead of him, if only because they're all so damned unpredictable. Though I've only seen Daniel Craig in three of his many films (the other two were THE ROAD TO PERDITION and THE JACKET), he's clearly one of those actors who never looks or sounds the same from role to role, so if he does indeed end up being Pierce Brosnan's successor as James Bond as rumored, it'll be interesting to see how he fares playing the same character in more than one film! :-) In any case, Craig certainly lives up to the "new Steve McQueen" rep that LC has garnered him. I look forward to seeing what he'll do next!

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