286 user 153 critic

Layer Cake (2004)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | 3 June 2005 (USA)
1:56 | Trailer

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


Matthew Vaughn


J.J. Connolly (screenplay), J.J. Connolly (novel)
907 ( 236)
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





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)


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

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 »





English | Romanian

Release Date:

3 June 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

L4yer Cake See more »


Box Office


£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


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS (US prints)| DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Guy Ritchie was in place to direct, but other commitments meant he had to drop out. See more »


When XXXX and Gene are drinking whiskey at Gene's flat, XXXX fills the glass closest to him first, but when the camera switches through the table, the glass closest to him is empty and he has filled up Gene's glass first. See more »


Gene: If you have to kill someone, never ever tell a living soul.
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 »


Referenced in Film 2017: Episode #44.3 (2015) See more »


Tits on the Radio
Written by Babydaddy (as Scott Hoffman), Jake Shears (as Jason Sellards) and Ana Matronic (as Ana Lynch)
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd
Performed by Scissor Sisters
Courtesy of Polydor UK Ltd
Licensed by kind permission from the Universal Film & TV Licensing Division
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The serious telling of a complex story is a nice change for this genre in the UK but the delivery is a little messy and the narrative doesn't work as well as it really should
10 October 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

We join the story in the hands of our narrator who is making a nice little earner packing cocaine with friends acting as middlemen to keep him out of the way of the users, the wannabe gangsters and the bosses. However when he is invited to meet Jimmy the boss, he is given two jobs – handling a shipment of pills brought in by the Duke and also finding the daughter of Jimmy's boss Eddie. Even though he wants to stay away from the sharp end, he takes the jobs and tries to deal with the Duke and his crew of Chavs. However whenever it becomes apparent that the Duke has stolen the pills and is leaving a trail of bodies behind him, he realises he is in over his head and that the jobs are not what he thought they were.

The trailer was awful but the reviews were mostly good so I decided to give it a stab even though I generally don't get the appeal of these geezer gangster comedies and all their copies. I was rather relived to find that this film was much straighter than the others that had come to revel in violence and swearing in favour of plot, but this is not to say that it is a great film just because it is different. It has a good story at its core but it isn't delivered very well and at times is just a bit too messy with too much going on. The complexity of the story is not a problem it is more a matter of it not all coming together as well as it should have done. Side issues dilute the main thrust (although they are necessary for the bigger plot) and they take away from the tension and urgency of the whole story. It still engages though but at times it feels unsure of itself and will occasionally feel a little long – fans expecting Lock Stock will be trying to laugh (as they were in the audience I was in) as they try to work out why it isn't funnier, while those looking for a more traditional gangster film will wish it would lose the modern style a bit, tighter the plot and make it more focused.

The cast was a surprise to me because I happened to have seen The Football Factory the other night and a great deal of them were in and around the support cast here. Craig is a very attractive man and he has good presence on the screen, but he finds his character difficult (heck, he doesn't even have a name) to read. He is cool but I would have liked more to him than the usual old 'getting out from under' stuff. Support is so-so from everyone else, they all just more or less fall into the tried and tested stereotypes – 'f*ck-rough chav', 'cool boss man', 'brutal middlemen' and so on. Gambon, Fletcher, Hassan, Foreman, Healy, all of these and the others are all fine but none of them really make much of an impression. The film is directed with restraint in comparison to Snatch and the like and I did like the way that Vaughn didn't just go for the empty style but rather directed pretty well.

Overall this was better than I expected but then I didn't expect much from it. The story is good but not that well delivered and often comes across as being a bit messy and hard to totally get into but it is still OK. As a British gangster film it is good and happily just not another Lock Stock clone trying to cash in, but it doesn't totally have its own voice. Worth seeing for what it is but just don't expect too much.

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