7.4/10
148,094
279 user 152 critic

Layer Cake (2004)

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

Director:

Matthew Vaughn

Writers:

J.J. Connolly (screenplay), J.J. Connolly (novel)
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Popularity
1,363 ( 595)
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Daniel Craig ... XXXX
Tom Hardy ... Clarkie
Jamie Foreman ... Duke
Sally Hawkins ... Slasher
Burn Gorman ... Gazza
Brinley Green Brinley Green ... Nobby
George Harris ... Morty
Tamer Hassan ... Terry
Colm Meaney ... Gene
Marcel Iures ... Slavo
Francis Magee ... Paul the Boatman
Dimitri Andreas Dimitri Andreas ... Angelo
Kenneth Cranham ... Jimmy Price
Garry Tubbs Garry Tubbs ... Brian
Nathalie Lunghi ... Charlie (as Natalie Lunghi)
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Storyline

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 Serbian gang 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

Genres:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Romanian

Release Date:

3 June 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L4yer Cake See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,090,561 (United Kingdom), 3 October 2004, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$81,706, 15 May 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,338,695, 14 August 2005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,850,214, 18 August 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (US prints)| DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The phonetics ("radio alphabet") "Delta-Uniform-Kilo-Echo" are spoken in sentence over the police band when the "inspector" exits the police car to address the raid team. The phonetics spell the letters D-U-K-E, or "Duke". See more »

Goofs

Lucky's body changes positions several times after he is shot dead. See more »

Quotes

Gene: [to XXXX] This what being a gangster gets you. You're not in there 'cause I like you.
Morty: I'm beginning to feel left out.
Gene: Why? I seem to recall a friend of yours in intensive care after your little... reunion.
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 »

Connections

Featured in Becoming Bond (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Ruthless Gravity
Written by Craig Armstrong
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd
Performed by Craig Armstrong
Licensed courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Great showcase for Daniel Craig's talent - and solid entertainment
10 August 2006 | by Flagrant-BaronessaSee all my reviews

I can IMPOSSIBLY outline the plot of Matthew Vaughn's Layer Cake, so I'll just say it's about a nameless guy (Daniel Craig) doing some criminal stuff in London.

In my observation there are three approaches to gangster characters in crime films: 1) The overly-amateurish 'gangsters' that are scared sh*t and mess up, like in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, 2) The kind of gangster who is an amateur, but picks up on criminal ways quickly and effortlessly if the occasion calls for it, like Max the cab driver from Collateral and 3) The stone-cold professionals who can do whatever, whenever with whatever, like any mob-boss, contract killer, etc.

What is so endlessly refreshing about Layer Cake (2004) is that it applies none of these approaches to its main character Daniel Craig. He is a drug-dealer, but reluctantly resorts to violent ways. He hates guns. Murders and violence disturb him. He takes time to cope with things. He shows fear and hesitation. He actually bleeds when he is hit. In short, he is an extremely realistic person and this facilitates the film's realistic atmosphere - there's no glossy visuals or over-the-top violence.

Now, it is my opinion that Layer Cake could have perhaps used some of the latter to spice things up. Its director is the producer of Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and it is clear here that he is trying to move away from flashy Ritchie editing and effects as much as possible, making his own film just a bit too barren in order to be 'different'. It works fine, but as a result, the gangster characters aren't very funny or colourful - rather they are down-to-earth London men trying to make a living. A shady living, true, but still a living.

A few bland characters and an extra-template romantic storyline featuring Sienna Miller (I like her, but she is redundant in this film) drag this film down, but overall it is a very solid crime thriller, superbly acted by Daniel Craig. The score is great. In particular, please note the great use of "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran. Layer Cake isn't gloriously entertaining or anything but it feels very real and engaging and it is interesting to see the acting abilities of future Mr Bond - as well as his bare chest.

7/10


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