An often over looked gem
The title "LAYER CAKE" refers to the levels the dealer has to go through as he plots his own retirement from the murky world of drug dealing.
This Brit flick, based upon JJ Connelly's London crime novel, "LAYER CAKE" was largely overlooked on its initial release in the cinema despite receiving rave revues at the time. Since its release on DVD it has become recognised an intricate movie that will reward repeat viewing to understand and untangle all of the small sub plots that ultimately rejoin at the end of the film.
Daniel Craig (pre ‘007) is a successful cocaine dealer working for big crime boss Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) who has decided to take early retirement from the business. However before his boss will let him go he hands Daniel Craig’s character (who has no name) a tough final assignment: find Charlotte Ryder, the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy's old pal Edward (Michael Gambon), a powerful construction business player and gossip papers socialite.
This film is a thinking man’s crime caper that grabs the viewer at the start of the film and refuses to let go until the end. You will find yourself watching this film over and over again because it is so good and also to catch all of the things that you missed when you last watched it.
The end has one of the best surprises that I have seen for a long time and I certainly didn’t see it coming!!
I really liked this film and I highly recommend it
A classic British film. Awesome!
This film suffers because it comes from the same stable as Lock Stock and Snatch. The reason it suffers is that people expect a Lock Stock 3. It isn't. There's a new director in the chair and the film is a lot darker and edgier than the other two.
The first two were black comedies; this one isn't.
This movie won't have large shoot-outs, but what it will have is a movie with a very strong undercurrent of fear going through the lead's final days in business before he retires. But, retirement is not going to be easy.
Things start to go terribly wrong and one can feel the world coming out from under his feet as events outside of his control are starting to take over and things are going totally wrong.
This is not a film where a grand comical shoot out occurs in the last scenes to leave the anti-heroes (they're all bad bad guys not nice bad guys, remember) with the girl and the loot as in Snatch or Lock Stock. Things have to be resolved their own way.
The acting is wonderful; the characters (hoorah!) don't look like gangsters which is the whole point, despite complaints here to the contrary. The lead characters want to go through life without drawing attention to each other so there's no-one acting like cheap hoodlumns from Central Casting.
There's a couple of wonderful touches and, in one of them, I take my hat off to FCUK for their bravery in one of the early scenes. Wonderful stuff.
In short, a good film. Certainly the best British gangland film made so far; above Long Good Friday (even though nothing will surpass THAT ending) and Get Carter. And, a different film whatsoever to Lock Stock and Snatch.
If you want a film which requires thought then get this one, if you want a Hollywood style mob film with a simplistic plot then get another. This is most certainly not a Saturday night no-brainer movie; this is a classic British film.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Based upon JJ Connelly's London crime novel, "LAYER CAKE" is about a successful cocaine dealer (DANIEL CRAIG) who has earned a respected place among England's Mafia elite and plans an early retirement from the business. However, big boss Jimmy Price (Cranham) hands down a tough assignment: find Charlotte Ryder, the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy's old pal Edward (Gambon), 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 the dealer has to go through as he painstakingly plots his own escape. 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 drugs ring, threaten to draw him back into the 'cake mix'. But, time is running out and the penalty will endure a lifetime..
craig's audition for bond .
an intricate movie that will reward repeat viewing to untangle the web of deceit , manipulation and subterfuge.
craig's character (name unknown)is a smooth underworld money-man for jimmy price (the usual excellent kenneth cranham) and his drug empire.
craig's plan for early 'retirement' are scuppered when a caper involving stolen ecstacy pills , attempted kidnap of a crime overlord's daughter , betrayal , assassination and a serbian 'head-hunter' in hot pursuit all contrive to keep him in the game.
i like this movie ..... a lot.
it forgoes the usual 'gangster' paraphenalia of working class cockney rhyming slang villains ala guy ritchie etc in favour of smooth , sharply dressed very proffessional criminals.
this is a thinking man's crime caper and has swagger and savoire fair in abundance.
what makes this film particularly interesting is , this is daniel craig's audition for james bond.
stand out scene of many is the (spoiler here) assassination scene of one of the characters by craig. its perfect james bond fodder and i would imagine the executives at EON replayed this scene again and again before giving daniel the nod for bond movie 21. daniel's first venture into murder and the emotional trouble and turmoil portrayed in layercake was tailor made for EON's 'reboot' first bond adventure when the M16 agent got his '00' status.
in fact having seen casino royale i cant help concluding that some of layer cake's scenes were borrowed for the latest edition of the bond franchise.
this is an intelligent , confident movie and slipped past unnoticed with the general viewing public .
i encourage you to seek it out and see how daniel craig got his '00' status before casino royale went into production or even had cast auditions !
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Layer Cake (DVD 2005)
"I'm not a gangster," says Daniel Craig's dapper drug dealer at the beginning of Layer Cake. "I'm a businessman." And he's a successful one at that. With a million quid stashed ready for early retirement, he's scuppered when a menacing Mr Big (Kenneth Cranham) asks him to track down the smack-addicted daughter of a wealthy friend (Michael Gambon). Soon our anti-hero's 'one last job' threatens to do for him, in what amounts to Lock, Stock without the laughs.
Lock, Stock's producer, Matthew Vaughn, stepped up to direct this when Guy Ritchie got too busy with other projects and being Mr Madonna. But Vaughn's no slouch behind the camera and though Layer Cake lacks the charisma and wit of the pair's underrated Snatch, it's slickly shot and enjoyable, with one outstanding scene: the cafe-set revenge of an embittered ex-con. Filmed unflinchingly with you-are-there energy, it's powerful and cinematic. You know you're watching a movie, not some TV drama blown up for the big screen.
"HE'S JUST LIKE US"
Craig also comes into his own here, shocked and appalled by what he's witnessing but nevertheless grateful this brutal bloke is on his side. His character is a smug, moral, hypocrite, but the actor's skill is that we don't immediately twig this. He remains likeable, with an everyman quality emphasised by a voiceover-heavy script that makes his get-what-you-can mentality feel sadly familiar. He's just like us.
The screenplay could have done with being streamlined. Adapted by JJ Connolly from his own novel, it tries to cram in too much, with characters forever giving each other information as the action replays on screen. It feels like there are flashbacks within flashbacks and gets rather long-winded as the plot grows more convoluted. The theme recalls The Long Good Friday; the execution isn't as impressive. But the killer conclusion ensures Layer Cake still cuts it.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.