Layer Cake (2004) Poster

(2004)

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6/10
A Lesser British Crime Thriller
gordonroad-6285023 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I was certainly expecting more from this film and I was slightly disappointed to be honest. The story seemed interesting at the beginning, but as it branches out into multiple threads it loses focus and becomes more convoluted. Snatch is a much better example of managing multiple story threads without it becoming too confusing.

However, the acting is excellent, particularly from Daniel Craig, Colm Meaney and George Harris. Michael Gambon also does a good job in the short amount of screen time he has. The direction is also superb, with their being some innovative shots and cinematography.

The romance between XXXX and Tammy seemed to be a bit forced into the narrative for me, but it does lead to a quite poignant ending when XXXX is shot by Tammy's boyfriend Sidney, as it hammers home the message that there was no way he would be able to leave the drugs business, and that all his efforts were for nothing.

Overall this is a fairly average British crime film, but not quite to the standard of previous examples.
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7/10
A good first project from Matthew Vaughn
tmpsvita20 January 2018
First project for Matthew Vaughn ("Stardust", "Kick-Ass", "Kingman") as director, he had previously played only roles as producer, and this is the first proof of his great talent as such. "Layer Cake" has all the features that have made Vaughn a very influential personality in the world of entertainment cinema, especially in recent years; also here the director is often dynamic, very fluid, fast, almost frenetic, extremely original and imaginative, especially in the appropriate but never predictable use of certain tools to create sequences with a strong visual and emotional impact thanks to beautiful camera movements and long shots. A script certainly interesting and engaging, as well as well designed but that in its being quick to keep up with the (masterful) editing and directing, lose a few pieces. Given also the considerable amount of details and information that are added with the advancing of time and that make the story more and more complex, more "calm" moments would have been pleasing to be able to rework the whole and be able to better understand the plot that in some points get confused. This is why the film although technically is incredible and the interpretations are quite satisfying, in the end it gave me the feeling of being a half-exploited opportunity that, yes, in general is more than sufficient, but that if better managed from the narrative point of view could really have left a more significant sign in the "modern" cinema, it could have turned into a small pearl destined to become a cult.
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5/10
Flawed
King-Rishab19 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Flawed. Too many plot holes and boring at times. XXXX thought he was very smart and gets toasted often and a big bang in end. Many situations and the way the whole film moves, doesnt feel real even for a movie. Maybe the director and script writer were also high on a dose.
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7/10
Layer Cake
WubsTheFadger19 January 2018
Short and Simple Review by WubsTheFadger

The story starts off really strong and engaging but losses some power towards the middle. The ending is very shocking though.

The acting all around is good. Daniel Craig performs very well.

The pacing is good in the beginning but gets weaker as the film continues onward.

The runtime is a little bit overlong.

Pros: Engaging story, good acting, fast pacing in the beginning, and a shocking ending

Cons: Story gets weak in the middle, overlong runtime, and the pacing slows down as the film continues onward

Overall Rating: 7.0
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4/10
Review without anger or long run-through
Sintz4916 December 2017
Okay, like a few others here, I didn't enjoy this film. But most of the problems I had with viewing seemed simple. They may even have simply been "American" difficulties: All the English/Irish accents! And the sound quality furthered the challenge of understanding (I viewed it on cable TV so who knows how the sound crumbled). The there was the Brit Isles' jargon, and any character being referred to by name, nickname, epithets... making it even harder for me to follow the story. The plot was like long sentences I myself sometimes utter, having endless modifying interjections that result in a constant struggle to understand what's happening. Added to this were jump-cuts that skipped through time. Still, the acting, the camera work, the casting (esp. my first view of Sally Hawkins) ... I LIKED all that; but eventually I had to turn it off. My patience for what seemed to be a too complicated story was reduced also by the setting: such a horrible way to live... ALL criminals? No spoilers here, because I couldn't keep watching... there seemed to be no end in sight.
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1/10
More Hollywood formula brainwashing-preaching
drystyx5 December 2017
This is just another of those continually stupid movies of continually Beavis and Butthead nonsense that the maniacs who make such movies feel powerful about, with the Bundy family fans being their goofy sheep and praising.

There's no plot here. It's just people going through a contrived script by someone who doesn't know how to write, but is eager to be one of the Nazi propaganda machine.

It's really just an excuse to kill the dark hair woman as often as possible, which is the only real goal of this movie, Nazi propaganda and brainwashing. That's it. Anyone who says it is anything more is missing the point of this chick flick. It's meant to depress young men, period. It's the same Hollywood hate formula we see over and over. New names are added to the mix of the demonic Nazi machine, and it's obvious the writer and director idolize Adolf Hitler, and want to keep his spirit alive. To be honest, this demonic spirit was in effect long before Hitler. He was just another part of it. It's not natural, but these human monsters possessed by the Nazi demon want to keep preaching that it is.

The movie is just another bit of Hollywood Nazi preaching, and overkill. Fortunately, the script is so ridiculous that it can't convert anyone with an IQ over 51.33, but that still leaves a lot of fans. True, they're all Beavis, Butthead, Al Bundy, Peg Bundy, and the like, but they are too many.
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7/10
Heading For A Fall
seymourblack-129 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A London drug dealer who regards himself as a businessman rather than a criminal, operates by a set of rules that he believes will enable him to retire shortly with the huge amount of money that he's accumulated. With a letting agency as his front and an accountant who systematically launders his money, he's convinced that he knows exactly what he's doing and says that "life's so good, I can taste it in my spit". In reality, however, because he's oblivious to the true levels of treachery that routinely permeate every layer of the criminal hierarchy within which he works; he's heading for a fall.

The dealer (Daniel Craig) whose name is never mentioned in the movie and is listed in the credits as XXXX unwittingly reaches a pivotal moment in his career when his boss Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham), calls him to a luncheon meeting and gives him two jobs to carry out. One is to find the missing drug-addicted daughter of his long-time associate, Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon) and the other is to acquire and sell the one million ecstasy pills that are currently in the hands of a low-level gangster called "The Duke" (Jamie Foreman). It's from this point onwards that everything starts to unravel for XXXX as he discovers that the ecstasy pills had been stolen from a gang of Serbians who've sent a ruthless hit-man called Dragan (Dragan Micanovic) to recover their property and also to eliminate anyone who's involved. This puts XXXX in immediate danger because the Serbians had been given the impression by The Duke that he had been working for XXXX.

After he's surprisingly kidnapped by Eddie Temple's men, XXXX learns that, as well as having had an ulterior motive for wanting Eddie's daughter to be found, Jimmy was also involved in a major act of betrayal against his own criminal fraternity and a plan to relieve XXXX of all of the money he'd made as a drug dealer. Further revelations, betrayals and an act of revenge then follow before the full extent of XXXX's downfall suddenly becomes apparent.

"Layer Cake" is a complicated, character-heavy crime drama that's full of double-crosses, clever twists and dry humour. It's based on the novel of the same name by J.J. Connolly and in adapting it for the big screen, he's retained so many of the story's minor characters and subplots that the end-result is more involved than it needs to be and as a result, fails to consistently convey to its audience what is important and what isn't. First-time director Matthew Vaughn does a good job of injecting clarity, vitality and stylishness into the whole undertaking and its large cast of talented actors also do well with Daniel Craig, Michael Gambon and Kenneth Cranham providing the most powerful and memorable performances. Overall, the movie is gritty, violent and lacks any likable characters but its soundtrack is well above average with especially good use being made of tracks by The Cult, The Rolling Stones and Duran Duran.
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9/10
Layer Cake Review.
ben hibburd17 September 2017
Layer Cake is the directorial debut from British director Matthew Vaughn. The film stars Daniel Craig as XXXX, a man with no name. XXXX is, as he eloquently states "I'm no gangster, i'm just a businessman whose commodity happens to be cocaine". The main plot of the film sees XXXX tasked with two objectives his supplier Jimmy Price(Kenneth Cranham), before he can retire from the business.

Firstly he's tasked with finding the daughter of a powerful businessman, Eddie Temple(Michael Gambon), whose a friend of Jimmy's. Secondly he has to negotiate with an unhinged dealer named Duke (Jamie Foreman). Duke and his gang have stolen 1,000,000 ecstasy tablets, from a gang of Serbian war criminals. The gang unleash an assassin only known as Dragon to track down and retrieve the stolen merchandise and exact retribution on anyone involved.

Layer Cake is an extremely well crafted gangster thriller. The film has a-lot of plot threads intersecting throughout, which is both a benefit and a hindrance. It can take a couple of viewings to piece together everything that happens. However when it is put together the film makes sense and there aren't any glaring plot inconsistencies, which makes for a rewarding experience.

Daniel Craig gives a fantastic performance as XXXX, in a role many credit for him receiving the role of James Bond. The film also has a brilliant supporting cast, filled with plenty of recognisable veteran British actors peppered through-out. Michael Gambon, Colm Meany, Tamer Hassan and George Harris all turn in solid performances. Featured alongside them are the newer faces of Tom Hardy and Sienna Miller.

After a spate of rubbish British gangster films in the early 00's, Layer Cake hits the mark. The films screenplay is treated with maturity unlike a-lot of other films in the genre. The characters are also developed beyond having a cool nick-name like Bullet-Tooth Tony. The film is also well paced, rarely getting bogged down in too much plot exposition. Except for one flashback scene, which stands out like a sore thumb, with too much exposition being thrown at the viewer.

Matthew Vaughn's debut feels more subdued stylistically then his more recent films. His direction is more minimalist and not as flashy as other directors in the genre. The film focuses on characters first and foremost. Instead he uses his style to add depth to a scene, on in- particular being a scene in a diner that is spectacularly violent, but shot from the victims pov.

The only downside i have with this film is that, even as a Brit some of the dialogue is hard to understand. Especially actors with thick Northern accents. Whilst the film congeals together in the end, there are A-LOT of characters in the film. I found it near impossible to know who was who and what there motivations were. The film definitely plays far better upon a re-watch, but that shouldn't be the case.

Layer Cake is the best British gangster film since The Long Good Friday. it's a film that stands amongst the giants of the genre. The film is a tense thriller, with multiple twists and turns. It's a film that has substance to got with the style.
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9/10
vastly underrated, discovering Vaughn and a great Bond
MrMovieMe15 June 2017
If this movie would have come out 10 years later, it would have made a huge hit.

Matthew Vaughn's first outing as a director sees him play. He doesn't take a step back, hesitating, which results in some great fight scenes. The "Ordinary World" sequence showing us a glimpse of Vaughn's vision that would in the future give us some of the best one screen fights in Kick-Ass, Kingsman and Stardust.

The Casting is great; showing us some of Britain's best talents. Vaughn's casting is tight and stars in the making come out of his movies.

This movie might not have been a bond movie, but aside from "Casino Royal" this is Craig's best Bondish movie.
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10/10
Welcome to the Layer Cake
javi-y-se-acabo13 May 2017
First of all, I have to say I knew nothing of this movie, except Daniel Craig was in it and was directed by Matthew Vaughn (one of the main reasons I watched this movie). I was totally surprised with this movie. It was awesome!

It tells the story of an unnamed person, XXXX (Daniel Craig), a drug- dealer who wants to retire from his job, but he receives two final assignments from his boss that will make his and his partners life very difficult.

The story is well introduced to us, as well as the main character, and from the first minutes I got hooked into the story and I couldn't stop watching it. One of the main reasons to watch this movie is Daniel Craig. He is awesome in his role of the cocaine dealer, and I'm sure that from this role, he got the one of the following Bond movies, but his character in here is nothing similar like Bond. Also the other actors were great in their roles, even if it were small. From Michael Gambon, George Harris, Colm Meaney or Tom Hardy to actors like Ben Wishaw or Sienna Miller they all played a good part in their roles and added a lot to the story. I specially liked Michael Gambon in the role of Eddie Temple and George Harris in the role of Morty.

One of the best things of this movie is all the editing, camera work and cinematography. Matthew Vaughn did an awesome job in here capturing all the places they visit in London and also capturing the feeling of the dark places of the city. All of this is mixed with some truly amazing scenes, like the one with Morty hitting one character in a bar, which is show from the perspective of the victim, another one where XXXX infiltrates in the house of one of the characters during the night, the great opening of the movie or the amazing (and surprising) ending of the movie. All of this accompanied at parts with awesome pop-rock songs and at other parts with the amazing score by Ilan Eshkeri & Lisa Gerrard

I truly recommend this movie who anyone to want to watch a entertaining movie with a good writing, great performances and some plot twists that will keep you staring at this movie through all of it.
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8/10
An intelligent crime drama with a brilliant performance from Daniel Craig.
TonyMontana964 May 2017
(Originally reviewed: 15/01/2017) Matthew Vaughn's directorial debut is a triumph, he has created a very good crime picture with just as much style as there is substance. Daniel Craig is terrific as a cocaine dealer with a simple but efficient way of doing business, alongside him (His associates) are Tom Hardy, George Harris and Colm Meaney, who are all really good here. The dialogue is fast, slick and fresh, as well as some rather impressive surprises along the way, this picture is rarely predictable, has a good sense of humour and is always engaging. I however wasn't over impressed with some of the female performances that were merely passable, this included Sienna Miller who is no more than Eye candy here, despite appearing extremely sexy in her black lingerie and stockings. Also I was unimpressed with the ending for which I will confidently admit, this picture just didn't know the right way to end.

On the other hand I think Layer Cake is the kind of film best discovered by the person viewing it, the less you know about the story, the more pleasantly surprising it will be. Overall this is a smart, skillful gangster picture with a cool soundtrack (Stones: Gimme Shelter) and contains direction, writing and scenes that would make Martin Scorsese proud.
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9/10
One of the better movies in the gangster genre
dhrubapatra31 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Layer cake is one of the old school gangster movies of which everybody is fond of.Daniel Craig's brilliant acting and Mike Gambon's steely tone surely strikes a nerve amongst the audience.Its a a type of movie you have to re-watch to understand it better.I myself had watch last 30 minutes twice again to get what really was happening.

Lastly the teaser left at the very last of the film before Daniel Craig was shot "My name?If you knew that you would be as clever as me." Owing to fan theory surely it must be an anagram of the very movie name..."Layer Cake"which gives XXXX's name as Carey Lake or Lake Carey.

But remember when all fan theories of the TV series Sherlock failed as to how Moriarty faked his death and then we came to know he is truly dead in season 4...maybe in this case too we are all wrong

But we all come to know about this when the layer cake sequel is released if ever.
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9/10
"England. Typical. Even drug dealers don't work weekends. "
sir-mauri11 February 2017
Layer Cake is a British crime-drama about a successful cocaine dealer who must do two difficult tasks for his boss before he can retire. Layer Cake showed a lot of harsh realities about being in the crime world and how Daniel Craig's character tries so hard to complete his tasks so he can retire knowing that trying to drop out of the crime world is a really hard thing to do. Layer Cake was an excellent movie and one of the Daniel Craig's best movies before he was Bond. Great directorial debut of Matthew Vaughn, his style has grown in 4 films since his recent film was X-Men First Class. I wonder how I managed to miss this one when it came out. It may just have been an oversight as the market was filled with cockney gangster films back then and I wasn't that impressed with them.
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10/10
The best film few have seen
imdb-4512 January 2017
You've heard of Snatch. Lock Stock. Rocknrolla. The rest of the British Gangsta series. This is one of the best of the lot and the cast is incredible. It's most of the big name stars before they were really big names. And this film lets you know why they made it.

Roger Craig is our unnamed protagonist who has some type of moral code even though he's a cocaine dealer. He's just about on his way out when his handler decides that he's got two very tough tasks for him right before our hero retires. And what a mess it turns out to be.

The dialogue is swift, crisp and witty. Even a very young Tom Hardy can be seen in this film. And Craig is extremely likable and charismatic. He's got that flair that made him Bond but without the extra need for dramatics and pretense.

I loved this film. Great soundtrack, interesting characters, a story that moves and whose plot isn't too contrived that it can't be followed. It's a story about the layers that comprise the business, from the top all the way down. And the cake is tasty. Enjoy.
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3/10
Dumb, wannabe British gangster film
Leofwine_draca16 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a big fan of Guy Ritchie's British gangster films LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS and, especially, SNATCH, so when I saw this Daniel Craig-starrer was directed by the guy who produced those two films, I thought I'd check it out. Sadly, LAYER CAKE is a dull and derivative piece of work that shows what happens when film-makers churn out familiar, predictable movies in a bid to cash-in on the perceived current popularity of the genre. It happened with Japanese long-haired ghost girl movies, and it happened with British gangster movies. LAYER CAKE contains absolutely nothing we haven't seen before and it's a case of style over substance. Ritchie's films provide a liberal inspiration, as does Tarantino's PULP FICTION, but the difference is that LAYER CAKE has no heart and the style ain't that great, either.

Things begin on a bad foot with some truly atrocious comedy from some 'chav'-type gangsters and after a while the story begins for real. Basically, it involves Daniel Craig and his criminal buddies getting involved with stolen drugs and rival gangsters, and it all gets very complicated and not very interesting. This might well have been the reason Craig became Bond, because his acting's great and the best thing in this film, but his character is unlikeable and doesn't get a chance to be developed enough. Elsewhere, the supporting actors seem to be just going through the ropes: Michael Gambon and Kenneth Cranham as older generation gangsters, Colm Meaney as yet ANOTHER shouty-sweary-sweaty guy (basically THE SAME as the character he played in CON AIR), Sienna Miller as a dumb bimbo and others besides.

Granted, the film does have a few stand-out moments of genuine goodness; the sniper scene is one of these. There are some other memorable moments, usually the violent bits, a couple involving hot tea and an iron, but these are mere minutes in what seems like a very long film. The 'twist' ending is ripped straight out of CARLITO'S WAY and really was the final insult for this viewer. LAYER CAKE is a dumb, wannabe film and fans of the genre should stick with SNATCH.
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6/10
.. he's good.. she could have made it better
bjarias5 August 2016
.. you've got two of the most captivating people on the planet.. and you only make use of one of the two... not sufficient. When she is on-screen she is way dynamic.. but look back this entire film and add up the scant few minutes she's there, it's lacking. The script gives little to capture. This is an actor driven production.. and although there are several very good cameo roles, they're not enough to carry the full production. No question, it was not deemed to be a male/ female story-line.. but with such two special actors, the viewing audience feels as if it's been cheated. With just a bit of deliberate forethought it could have been so much more.
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10/10
Frustratung but beautifully crafted
mcbainbmr13 July 2016
Forget - if you will - that Guy Richie had anything to do with this near- cult British gangster film. It is at once intelligent, witty, gloriously filmed and framed, and at the same time infuriatingly complex and annoying.

Daniel Craig, in his last film before his Bond days, is very clear about his role in life. He's a businessman, who happens to deal in cocaine. He doesn't consider himself to be a gangster, and as his commentary at the start of the film reminds us: "stay as far away from the end user as possible". He hates guns too, and believes himself to be the gentleman baddie.

So does Jimmy Price. Jimmy's empire is built, much like a pyramid scheme, on getting other people to do the dirty work while for all to see, he is a paragon of larger-than-life businessmen done good. He just has one or two little jobs for Daniel to do though, before (unbeknown to Jimmy) our hero plans to retire. Yes this is a "one last job before I retire" sort of film.

Firstly, there's the drug-addled daughter of his old school friend, Eddie Temple (played with gloriously latent menace by Michael Gambon). She's gone missing from a rehab clinic, and Craig is called up to find her, at whatever cost.

Added to Craig's "to do" list is the little matter of one million ecstacy tablets that have found their way from the clutches of a ruthless Eastern European gang into the possession of "The Duke", a loud-mouth "throwback" accompanied by his motley crew of droogs, not least a very very unpleasant girlfriend who would be kicked out of the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Having spent the first 45 minutes establishing who is who, what is what and so on, we settle down to witness a descent into ever decreasing circles of cross, double-cross, and nobody really knowing who to trust; Craig (who is never named in the film) remains calm throughout proceedings while - to quote The Duke - things go "a little bit turbo'.

It would spoil the ending too much to say more. Michael Gambon, suffice to say, has been watching events unfold from a far, as has Serbian killer "Dragon" who has a perchant for chopping off people's heads and doing some very very nasty torture using an electric iron.

Sienna Miller acts as a tagged-on romantic sub-plot, but as pointless sub- plots go, she's certainly lovely to watch.

This film is not easy going. The ending, which I shall not divulge, crackles with the "this is what will happen if you mess with me" from Craig vibe. It is rumoured the Barbara Brockly chose Craig to be the next Bond on the strength of his last words in the film and the rest, as they say, is history.
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6/10
Interesting Genre Piece.
Robert J. Maxwell5 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Daniel Craig does well in the role of a middleman between the higher-echelon drug dealers and the users. He's asked by his superior to do one last job. And at that point I got lost. I wish these blokes would learn to speak proper English so that a educated end tacitful man such as myself could unnerstand them. I mean, really. "Child" comes out "chow." And "Pal" becomes "pow." It's pretty violent, although the violence isn't dwelt on with the kind of relish we find in American horror movies. Okay, a lopped off head here and there but they're tastefully half hidden under the blue ice and soft drinks in the cooler.

Craig is constantly referred to as "a smart fellow." That, at any rate, is what the superb Michael Gambon calls him. Geeze, Gambon could easily be on Mount Rushmore with much alteration in size -- a monument of a face made up of an infinite number of wrinkles and folds of flesh.

Others have compared Craig to Steve McQueen in "Bullet" but I don't know why. Craig gets the stuffing beaten out of him, and he hates guns, and he bleats with fear when they hang him over the edge of a rooftop. But, though he may not be cool, there is a faint physical resemblance to McQueen.

There are some nice directorial touches too, as well as some crummy ones, as in the scene in which the camera takes the POV of a victim being beaten half to death by a huge black guy.

Definitely worth a watch if you can follow the twisted plot and the dialog that serves as trailway markers.
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8/10
cake eating means the lower layers of the command of the ladder are taken out of deals as the chain is inevitably destroyed from the bottom
2karl-3 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
this stylish executed piece of superior entertainment from the producer of snatch Matthew Vaughan makes his debut as director with enormous potential in this stylish neo noir crime thriller layer cake based upon jj Connolly's London crime novel this film is about a successful cocaine dealer daniel Craig who has earned a respectable place among England mafia elite and plans an early retirement from the business however big boss jimmy price Kenneth graham hands down a tough assignment find the missing millions of pounds worth of grade a ecstasy a brutal Serbian gang and a whole series of double crossing when a seemingly straight forward drug deal goes awry he Craig has to break his die hard rules and turn up the heat not only outwit the old regime and come out on top but to save his own skin its 1hr41 Min's came out in 2004i think Daniel Craig ... as xx xx is good as a rising actor in this playing a right hand man and tom hardy who kind of has a cameo of sorts plays clarkie and 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'. Point in case, the nameless hero of the story who figures he has played the game right and now is about to make an exit from the business. Little does he know that his friend Jimmy Price has other ideas for him to execute, no doubt driven by a desire to get him in trouble, as proves to be the case.

"Layer Cake" screams for a second viewing. In fact, it is probably a requirement because it will make things clearer to the viewer who might get lost in this story with so many twists and turns.

Daniel Craig is the best thing going in the movie. In fact, he kept reminding us of a young Steve McQueen because of his cool demeanor and how he seems to move effortlessly throughout the film. Kenneth Cranham, as Jimmy Price, is also another actor whose contribution is an asset in the film. Michael Gambon, leaner and tanner, is a cool drug lord who rules a vast empire. Colm Meaney also is excellent, as well as the extensive cast. i gave this film 8 /10 it well worth it
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9/10
A middle class Guy Ritchie film
bowmanblue31 January 2016
Yes, Britain is famous for its classic and gritty gangster films (but then it's also got its fair share of pretty mundane and forgettable ones, too). Guy Ritchie made his name showing us the exploits of his working class (anti) heroes and, for a while, it seemed like every film was about the 'rougher' element from London. Then came Layer Cake. And, briefly, Ritchie's name was associated with it. You can see why. It does share certain traits of one of his films – gangsters, multiple plot lines and characters and, of course, the violence and double crossing.

But, once you start watching it, you soon see that it's not just a poor clone, but something all of its own entirely. A pre-Bond Daniel Craig stars as the main character (of whom we deliberately never learn his name!) who is a class A drugs dealer, only not the type to hang round on dodgy street corners. He just produces the stuff for others to supply and snort, therefore he can tell himself (and us, the audience) that he's more of a respectable type of criminal.

And, he's so respectable, that he's basically thinking of quitting the whole business (now that he's made his millions of course). Sadly, a very large spanner is thrown in his works when the local kingpin decides to utilise his services to find the missing daughter of a colleague. Now, this hardly fits in with Craig's usual skillsets, but then that's the point. It's all a bit too out of the blue to be above board. And, what follows is a chain reaction that leads to the afore-mentioned violence and double crossing.

It's one of those films that you can't really have on in the background. You'll need to watch it. There are numerous characters who you'll need to keep track of so you can follow who's working for who and therefore who's about to stab who in the back. If you like your 'Richie-style' films then you should love this. Daniel Craig is excellent in the lead role (better than he is in Bond in my humble opinion) and the supporting cast all play their parts well. You'll only get the one chance to watch it through without knowing what's going to happen and I advice you sit down and spend some time getting to grips with it.

Plus it's got a great soundtrack and Sienna Miller in – arguably – her finest role to date (*rolls eyes*).
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Boo! Pick a plot line!
luke-a-mcgowan16 November 2015
Layer Cake has so many different interweaving plot points over its 100 minute run time that none of them play out long enough at one time to sink in. Daniel Craig is XXXX, a cocaine dealer doing fairly well for himself. He answers to a guy named Jimmy. At the end of the title sequence the film starts to diverge in about 6 directions. - Find a missing drug addicted girl - Find a market for ecstasy pills - Buy the same ecstasy pills from someone named Duke - Appease a Serbian hit-man sent after them - Deal with his right-hand man's attempted murder of the man whose laziness left him in the slammer for 10 years. - Get laid

Points 2-4 make up Layer Cake's main plot, with 1 having a small but necessary part of it. Points 5 and 6 are easy to understand but ultimately have no part to play in the film and only serve to introduce a handful of characters we need to distinguish from an already stacked up ensemble. By the twenty minute mark, I had the Wikipedia summary of the plot up on my phone and that was just in order to keep my engagement levels are the bare minimum.

Matthew Vaughn has an interesting style of direction, here he's in good form with some great camera work and editing to allow the first twenty minutes to be relatively easy to follow. The camera glides over things just as we hear about it, so the audio and narration sync up perfectly with the picture. Unfortunately, this style doesn't work later and that's what makes Vaughn's film so confusing. Vaughn tends to do a good job directing movies where his scripts are less impressive (his First Class screenplay is tripe compared to the original Singer versions, his Kingsman screenplay couldn't resist stupid anal sex jokes) and Layer Cake is no exception. There's too much going on in too little depth. Vaughn is also far too enamoured with his own ending, with a cheesily stylish walkout typical of a superhero movie - you might as well blare the Avengers theme as he does so.

Daniel Craig is pretty good as XXXX, nothing to write home about (I love him as Bond, but I wouldn't be basing that decision on this film alone). Sally Hawkins and Burn Gorman - two of my favourite character actors - pop up in small roles with far too little to do, as does a pre- fame Tom Hardy. Colm Meany and George Harris get meatier roles, while Sienna Miller is excellent in a far too small part as "hot girlfriend". Michael Gambon caps off the ensemble with his hypnotic voice and made the best scenes of the film with his presence.

Layer Cake requires far too much concentration to be worth your time, but there's nothing objectively wrong with it. All the convoluted plot points are resolved, which is more than I can say for other films with the same problem.
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8/10
Great British gangster-drama
grantss5 October 2015
Great British gangster-drama.

Good plot. May seem overly-complex at times, but it all makes sense quickly enough. Very original ending.

Direction by Matthew Vaughn is spot on - pacing is good and the intrigue is maintained throughout.

Excellent performance by Daniel Craig in the lead role. This would be one of the roles that got him the James Bond gig. Good support from Colm Meaney and George Harris.

Supporting cast also includes Tom Hardy and Sienna Miller in early- career roles.
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8/10
A Layered Icecream Cake
Michael Radny21 September 2015
I had a tough time figuring out if I liked this film or if I was being manipulated into liking it. The problem lies with it being quite similar to films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking barrels and Snatch, without that cockney charm and humour. But ultimately what you end up with is a James Bond cross Snatch movie, which I gave the benefit of the doubt of being good. On the opposite end of the spectrum is that it does feel predictable, forced, clichéd and copied from other films of a similar type.

Though Layer Cake wasn't as good as I was led to believe, it did benefit from a good cast. The characters were generally likable and genuinely fun to watch. Though this film won't be in my top 100 or even 200, it is still worth the watch.
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7/10
got good intensity in a Guy Ritchie style story
SnoopyStyle3 September 2015
XXXX (Daniel Craig) considers himself to be a business as he quietly and carefully becomes the biggest cocaine supplier in London. Morty is his loyal muscle. Then crime boss Jimmy Price forces XXXX to find Eddie Temple's daughter Charlie. Jimmy assigns his man Gene (Colm Meaney) to help. At the same time, he's trying buy a large shipment from Duke who stole it from a gang of Serbian war criminals. He falls for party girl Tammy (Sienna Miller).

Matthew Vaughn delivers a harsh twisty crime movie. Daniel Craig has a tough menace that allows him to take center in a wild and densely packed crime story. There are a few too many characters with a couple of too many twists. Craig maintains the attention. Vaughn has taken a bit of Guy Ritchie's sensibilities and added his own intensity.
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7/10
Layer Cake
Phil Hubbs30 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Along with Guy Ritchie, Matthew Vaughn is the probably the second biggest director from the UK at the moment with some huge films under his belt, he is also the British gangster film maker of our modern age along with Mr Ritchie having made 'Lock Stock' and 'Snatch' together.

Those two films pretty much flash started the British gangster/underworld flicks back into being and created a whole load of copies in film style and imagery. 'Layer Cake' is Vaughn's attempt without his partner in crime (pun intended) and you can obviously see how that collaboration has rubbed off on him.

The film is pretty much like 'Lock Stock' and 'Snatch' and could almost be the third in a trilogy really, the plot is a hotpot of subplots wrapped around one main plot which all intertwine and work off each other well. Although its very familiar by now in visuals, dialog and concept its still somehow good fun to watch hardcases, fumbling crooks and foul mouthed crime lords all batter each other trying to get money/drugs/women/guns etc...one or the other.

It really is nothing new after the last two big Ritchie films it has to be said with virtually the same cast yet again, bar Vinnie Jones, the same outcomes and the same kind of violence all topped off with outrageously harsh cockney accents. Craig fits in quite well with this world as the well spoken sensible dealer and he does a good job unlike his usual wooden pouting performances, you do want him to win the day and its nice to see someone play a role in these types of films without a whole load of attitude and mouth.

Don't expect anything new to the genre with this as its the same again from Vaughn but its neater, tighter and not as ludicrous as the previous big two Brit gangster flicks, its still a lairy little sod of flick though, bosh! 

7/10
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