Layer Cake

October 1st, 2004

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Layer Cake

Still of Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller in Layer CakeStill of Daniel Craig and George Harris in Layer CakeClaudia Schiffer and Matthew Vaughn at event of Layer CakeStill of Colm Meaney, Daniel Craig and George Harris in Layer CakeStill of Daniel Craig in Layer CakeStill of Colm Meaney, Daniel Craig and George Harris in Layer Cake

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

Release Year: 2004

Rating: 7.4/10 (60,419 voted)

Critic's Score: 73/100

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Stars: Daniel Craig, Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon

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 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...

Writers: J.J. Connolly, J.J. Connolly

Daniel Craig - XXXX
Tom Hardy - Clarkie
Jamie Foreman - Duke
Sally Hawkins - Slasher
Burn Gorman - Gazza
Brinley Green - Nobby
George Harris - Morty
Tamer Hassan - Terry
Colm Meaney - Gene
Marcel Iures - Slavo
Francis Magee - Paul the Boatman
Dimitri Andreas - Angelo
Kenneth Cranham - Jimmy Price
Garry Tubbs - Brian
Nathalie Lunghi - Charlie


Official Website: Gaumont Columbia Tristar [France] | Sony Pictures |

Release Date: 1 October 2004

Filming Locations: 1 West India Quay, Isle of Dogs, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: £4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £1,090,561 (UK) (3 October 2004) (355 Screens)

Gross: $2,338,695 (USA) (14 August 2005)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Marcel Iures plays a Serbian drug dealer (Slavo) yet, being a Romanian actor, he speaks Romanian with his crew.

Factual errors: Slavo and Dragan are supposed to be Serbians but they speak Romanian.

[first lines]
XXXX: When I was born, the world was a far simpler place. It was all just cops and robbers.

User Review

In short, see this film.

Rating: 10/10

After being cast as Bond, Daniel Craig's back catalogue is now much sought after. Although Craig came to most of the UK's attention with a stand out performance in Our Friends in the North, it's Layer Cake that showcases why he got the Bond audition. Perhaps now, this strong contender for the best thriller of the year may find the audience it deserves. Mis-sold as a more art house friendly addition to the Guy Ritchie school of crime films, Layer Cake is a unique and remarkable experience.

The plot is deceivingly simple and would wrongly be placed in the gangster-wanting-to-retire-peacefully cinema staple seen frequently in Al Pacino movies. It is a much greater accomplishment that the audacious visual style, superb script and excellent performances make easy comparisons to this film pretty difficult. If anything it is closer to Schrader's 'American Gigalo' where the morally questionable hero is engulfed in a situation going on around him. The predominantly male cast is faultless with everyone from Dexter Fletcher to Michael Gambon putting in superb turns to give the characters justice. Far more human than the cartoon stereotypes we've come to expect after so very many Brit gangster flicks. Craig has never looked in better shape for taking on Hollywood.

Hats off then to Matthew Vaugn for filming Britain as it can look. Grimy in places but every bit astonishing in locations as our Stateside cousins. We've grown too used to seeing rain pouring and hackneyed clichés that have represented this country on celluloid. It's not foppish. It's not Bend It Like Beckham. So there really is no excuse left not to see it (aside from the awful trailer). Layer Cake deserves a wide audience and there's more than enough of everything for everyone to enjoy. At times hilarious, astonishingly frank and incredibly concise the whole film is a pure joy and clearly made for people that love film. Makes you wonder why they can't all be as classy as this.

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