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Overall Rating

Awesome: 32.14%
Worth A Look35.71%
Average: 7.14%
Pretty Bad: 25%
Total Crap: 0%

6 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Layer Cake
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by EricDSnider

"Stylish and violent, just the way we like 'em."
4 stars

The protagonist of "Layer Cake," whose name we never learn -- the credits call him XXXX -- says he's not a gangster. "I'm a businessman whose commodity happens to be cocaine," he says.

The distinction may not be important to the police of London, where this is set, but it is to him. He has no fondness for guns, and in fact doesn't even own one. He handles his business methodically and without flair and has no patience for employees who, intoxicated by amped-up performances in mass media, seek to conduct the business of dealing drugs like the high-living thugs you see on movie screens. In fact, XXXX (played by Daniel Craig) is tired of the business altogether, planning to take his last million or so and retire.

It should not surprise you that he is drawn back in before he even gets out, enlisted by his superior Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) to find the missing cokehead daughter of an old school chum (played evilly by Michael Gambon). Missing persons isn't really XXXX's bag, but it's not like the preeminent coke dealer of London can really call Scotland Yard for help finding a lost drug addict, can he?

Meanwhile, XXXX's life is complicated by the reckless actions of Duke (Jamie Foreman), a hothead who stolen 1 million Ecstasy tablets from some Serbs and led them to believe that he was acting on XXXX's orders. Now the Serbs have sent Dragan (Dragan Micanovic), their top goon, to retrieve the merchandise and issue an appropriate punishment.

The plot is more elaborate and complicated than I have even suggested, with both threads -- the missing girl and the stolen E -- intersecting and revealing themselves to be far deeper than they first appeared, just the way you like these sorts of films to go. Coolly, stylishly directed by Matthew Vaughn (working from J.J. Connolly's novel and screenplay), it recalls a slightly toned-down "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" (which Vaughn produced), with occasional grim humor and ample plot twists. It does nothing revolutionary, but it handles the basics with entertaining aplomb.

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originally posted: 07/29/05 15:40:25
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

7/19/17 Anne Selby at times boring, karma - Craig shot dead 2 stars
4/13/10 brian Oh look, another gangster movie. *Yawn* 3 stars
7/13/06 Phil M. Aficionado A messy cake without much taste, except bitter one and sour, not too fulfilling 3 stars
5/10/06 chienne Again, just went to see it for Marcel Iures, but god, isn't Craig sensational? 5 stars
2/13/06 Reklc Funny, intriguing, interesting and very british, what more do you need?! 5 stars
2/07/06 tatum Standard crime thriller done with much aplomb 4 stars
1/01/06 Tanya very good loved the ending 4 stars
12/28/05 Steve Newman What an excellent film - made my Christmas viewing (Dec 05!) 5 stars
12/16/05 Gary Budds This film was creative and interesting.Stensland most definitely has poor taste in movies 5 stars
9/30/05 Mac excellent! a must see 5 stars
9/18/05 Dominic Very entertaining film 5 stars
8/22/05 John Bale This cake failed to rise. Starts well but bogs down in over complicated plot 3 stars
8/17/05 Agent Sands FUCKING FANTASTIC. A great severance for a primarily shitty movie year. 5 stars
8/13/05 John Bale Starts with promise but over complex plot and pedestrian direction becomes boring 3 stars
7/10/05 cpbjr execellent 5 stars
7/07/05 Elizabeth Blackey Knew nothing about this movie. What a great surprize - loved it. 5 stars
6/29/05 Jack Sommersby Craig is semi-magnetic, but the film is familiar, slow, and abrasive. 2 stars
6/08/05 Agent Sands I could watch it as many times as I've watched Lock, Stock & Snatch. It's just my type!!! 5 stars
5/16/05 Chris Stephens SEe this movie 5 stars
5/06/05 Marc Basque Terrifically plotted and wonderfully acted 5 stars
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  13-May-2005 (R)
  DVD: 23-Aug-2005



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