Layer Cake - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Layer Cake Reviews

Page 1 of 409
February 21, 2017
Grade - B
'Layer Cake' is a good crime comedy, featuring electric direction from Matthew Vaughn, a funny script, and the best performance from Daniel Craig that I've ever seen. It even comes with an amazing ending, which would be really ballsy if I didn't know there were plans for a sequel.
½ January 15, 2017
WHAT I LIKED: There's no doubt 'Layer Cake' is a clever film in many ways - primarily because the story it's based on has a whole set of interesting messages and well-constructed plots, but also because it's brought to life in an artistic and exciting manor. It would be criminal to not mention the whitty humour and snappy pacing either, as these elements make the film something rather unique and showcase Vaughn's talents the most.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Unfortunately, whilst ambitious, it lacks overall narrative flow and in-the-moment focus. This may be forgiveable if the film spent longer looking at the lead characters, but sadly these great performances aren't given enough room to make you truly care. Left in that void is a lot to admire for sure, but little to actually engage.
VERDICT: Layer Cake left me wallowing in the web of plots and themes, albeit whilst looking in vague admiration at the whitt and style with which it's all delivered.
January 7, 2017
Some good acting, but not my favorite type of story - I don't care for all the language, etc.
½ December 15, 2016
An unnamed man only known as XXXX (Daniel Craig) is a London underworld figure who has established himself in the cocaine business as one of the city's biggest suppliers, whilst presenting himself as a figure with legal business operations. Considering himself a businessman and a patient person, he leaves the darker aspects of the business to his henchman Morty (George Harris), who had previously spent 10 years in prison for murder. Once he has earned enough to ensure his long-term financial security, XXXX plans to retire. Approaching this point, his retirement plans go wrong when his powerful supplier Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) instructs XXXX to track down Charlie, the teenaged daughter of Price's associate, Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon), who has fled a rehabilitation centre along with her drug-addicted boyfriend. To track her down, XXXX enlists the help of two con men known as Cody and Tiptoes. To the frustration of XXXX, the boyfriend is found dead and Charlie has apparently been kidnapped, although no ransom has been demanded. At the same time, Price instructs XXXX to organise the purchase and distribution of one million ecstasy tablets from a low-level gangster styling himself as "The Duke" (Jamie Foreman). XXXX does not know the pills had been stolen from a gang of Serbian war criminals based in the Netherlands, and who have been in hiding since the Yugoslav Wars and are now large-scale drug producers. Meanwhile, XXXX encounters the Duke's nephew Sidney (Ben Whishaw) at a bar and becomes attracted to his disillusioned girlfriend Tammy (Sienna Miller). XXXX tries to broker the sale of the ecstasy pills to Liverpool gangsters Trevor and Shanks, but they refuse, informing him of the drugs' purloined nature and of the fact that the Serbs have sent an assassin, known as Dragan, to find the pills and kill those responsible for their theft. Because the Duke had mentioned XXXX's name to the Serbs beforehand, he, too, is now in danger. Members of the Duke's gang soon start turning up dead and the Duke himself goes missing. XXXX arranges a tryst with Tammy, but before it can be consummated, he is kidnapped by henchmen of Eddie Temple (the father of Charlie). Temple informs him that Jimmy had lost Ģ13 million in a failed investment in Africa and is now hoping to sell the pills to recoup his losses. He demands instead that XXXX sell the pills to him, and plays him a recording indicating that Jimmy has been a long-term informant for Scotland Yard and intends to betray XXXX to the police as soon as the deal is done, planning to gain clemency from the deal and also take away XXXX's wealth. XXXX needs to figure out how to keep his wealth and health...

The critical consensus of "Layer Cake" states that it is "A stylized, electric British crime thriller". Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times remarked, "The movie was directed by Matthew Vaughn, who produced Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, and this one works better than those films because it doesn't try so hard to be clever and tries harder to be menacing". Of Craig's performance, he said, "Craig is fascinating here as a criminal who is very smart, and finds that is not an advantage because while you might be able to figure out what another smart person is about to do, dumbos like the men he works for are likely to do anything". Craig's starring role in the film has been cited as the performance that led to his high-profile casting as James Bond.

Matthew Vaughnīs "Layer Cake" carries the craziness, fast paced action, one liners, colourful character gallery and humour we saw in "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Snatch", however thatīs no wonder as Vaughn was involved in those films, but in "Layer Cake" I reckon Vaughn has found a better set up thatīs always balancing on the right side and never really goes over to the "too much of everything" side. Itīs got great visual style, excellent performances and a story that fits the genre so to speak. Daniel Craig is great as XXXX and with actors such as Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy (yes, small role) etc you canīt really go wrong, And Sienna Miller is just to die for in this film. I love that Vaughn has created a great soundtrack for the film as well, and I guess that he has learned that from Guy Ritchie. "Layer Cake" is as solid cool gangster thriller with a twist and I do love the ending. The original ending, the ending Sony Pictures wanted Vaughn to use, shows XXXX driving off into the sunset with Tammy. Vaughn secretly recorded the alternate ending, showing XXXX being shot by Sidney to the screening audience and ended up using it based on popular vote, stating "It was not like other American movie endings". Thumbs up for that Mr. Vaughn!
½ November 22, 2016
Though the Story is very convoluted, Layer Cake manages to give a look of the drug business in the U.K. While giving Daniel Craig his breakthrough role
½ November 3, 2016
Daniel Craig is good as the unnamed drug dealer who gets in way over his head but learns to deal. The supporting cast is impressive as well. My knock on this one is the story itself. Hardly believable in any aspects. Lots of the louts would have been offed early on,but then there wouldn't have been a movie. The acting makes it worthwhile.
October 14, 2016
Generic and mediocre in execution.
½ September 21, 2016
Incredible noir film, that proves Matthew Vaughn knows what he is doing behind the camera and Daniel Craig knows what he is doing in front of the camera.
September 20, 2016
I went into this one with high hopes, a film with Daniel Craig, directed by Mathew Vaughn, it was a formula for great stuff. Later Cake was alright, but I was expecting a little more than what I got. The plot is at times hard to follow, but still entertaining. The performances were all pretty good except for The Duke character, and not enough to Tom Hardy was in this. Everything was solid here, it just failed to deliver that special something that should've made this excellent, and I don't know what it is, maybe it was because I didn't care for the characters as much as I wanted to. Nevertheless, Layer Cake is still a pretty good movie and the clever twist where you never here Craig's characters name is pretty cool.
½ September 5, 2016
Layer Cake is an eccentric and truly British action/thriller hybrid. Daniel Craig performs extremely well as he breathes a detailed life to an unnamed character. The plot is solid with a few very shocking scenes. Matthew Vaughn is stamping mark as one of the greatest British directors.
jamrcla
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2016
Good film even though I was expecting a full on action film, Great plot and brilliantly acted by Daniel Craig.
½ July 12, 2016
"Layer Cake" is a lean, exciting British crime thriller with an effective lead and stylized violence.
June 29, 2016
Juicy and blunt, and gets an A+ for style.
½ June 28, 2016
classy, witty badass gangsters
defining role for daniel craig
June 21, 2016
Mob story that holds water and sounds real. Well done. Even the bits that seemed not to make sense, did make sense in the end.
June 19, 2016
In the end, Layer Cake dissolves to a somewhat generic crime/thriller type of movie that bites of more than it can chew. There's very impressive direction and cinematography that hoist this film to a different type of level though; performances are fine, and the twists work.
½ June 2, 2016
Yet another cockney gangster movie with more twists than a dancing competition at a chubby checker appreciation convention. Daniel Craig is miscast amongst the usual faces, but perhaps not more so than the evil gang boss played by Dumbledore himself.
April 18, 2016
I hunted this down due primarily to it being a Tom Hardy movie I hadn't seen before. Fanboy shit, I know, but his movies are usually cool, alright? So Shutty. Anyway, he was barely in this one, as it turns out, and even if he had been, it still wouldn't have been anything too spectacular. Not bad, just meh-ish.
April 9, 2016
Interesting, but don't expect Oscar level. I love the gritty feel, and Craig is great. After this, it was easy for me to see him as bond. Especially with how well he does in this type of role.
½ March 20, 2016
It's almost hard to believe that a movie this refined is a first time directorial debut. However, once you associate Matthew Vaughn's name, the great aspects of Layer Cake start to make sense. The film is packed with the same biting dialogue and cheeky humor, as well as hints of hyper-fast editing and directing, that the rest of Vaughn's filmography is known for. The story isn't particularly groundbreaking for the genre, and it even becomes a little convoluted at times, but it manages to hold your attention through many twists and turns. The biggest reason this film keeps you engaged is Daniel Craig: he has the smooth demeanor he'd eventually use for the James Bond franchise, as well as strong moments of confidence and emotion. The supporting cast is full of familiar faces (Sienna Miller, Tom Hardy, Ben Whishaw, and Michael Gambon all make appearances), and they all do a fine job supporting Craig's nameless character. As a first feature, Vaughn manages to hit almost all of the right notes, and the film as a while serves as a solid foundation for the career of one of the brightest and most fun directors in the business today. Layer Cake is simply a fun time; any Matthew Vaughn would be wise to check this one out.
Page 1 of 409