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Layer Cake is a 2004 Britishmarker gangster thriller, directed by Matthew Vaughn. It is based on the novel Layer Cake by J. J. Connolly.

The title refers to the human social strata, especially in the British crime underworld, as well as the numerous plot layers in the film.


The film centers on a cocaine distributor played by Daniel Craig. The character, who also narrates the film, is deliberately unnamed throughout, but is listed in the credits as "XXXX". XXXX has established a successful business in Londonmarker buying, cutting and selling cocaine while avoiding the largesse and gangster behaviour associated with drug dealing. Having made his fortune, he secretly plans to retire from the business for good.

Daniel Craig as XXXX
XXXX's boss, Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) sends him to track down Charlie, the teenage daughter of Price's associate, Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon), who has fled a rehabilitation centre with her drug-addicted boyfriend. In reality, XXXX is being sent to kidnap Charlie to help Jimmy blackmail Temple over a bad investment.

At the same time, Price instructs XXXX to organise the purchase and distribution of one million ecstasy tablets from a gangster named The Duke (Jamie Foreman). Unbeknownst to XXXX, the pills have been stolen from a gang of Serbian war criminals. Jimmy has found out about XXXX's plans to retire, and believes that either the Serbian gang or Eddie Temple's mercenaries will kill XXXX, allowing him to recover some of his losses.

XXXX's world gradually unravels as he discovers Jimmy Price is informing for the police; XXXX's associate, Morty (George Harris) goes into hiding after brutally beating and pouring hot tea on a former associate in a cafe; the Duke and his gang mysteriously disappear; and the ruthless Eddie Temple involves himself in the already bungled ecstasy deal.

XXXX devises an elaborate scam to play his various adversaries off against one another, and ends up in the clear with both the money and the drugs, and most of his enemies dead. He sticks to his original plan to retire, but as he leaves a celebratory lunch with his associates, he is shot on the front steps of the country house restaurant by The Duke's nephew, Sidney (Ben Whishaw), in revenge, presumably, for stealing his girlfriend, Tammy (Sienna Miller). The film ends with XXXX left lying bleeding on the steps, his fate unknown.


Actor Role
Daniel Craig XXXX
Colm Meaney Gene
Kenneth Cranham Jimmy Price
George Harris Morty
Jamie Foreman The Duke
Marcel Iureş Slavo
Michael Gambon Eddie Temple
Tom Hardy Clarkie
Tamer Hassan Terry
Ben Whishaw Sidney
Burn Gorman Gazza
Sally Hawkins Slasher
Sienna Miller Tammy
Dexter Fletcher Cody
Steve John Shepherd Tiptoes
Louis Emerick Trevor
Stephen Walters Shanks
Paul Orchard Lucky
Dragan Mićanović Dragan
Nick Thomas-Webster Dragans Henchman
Nathalie Lunghi Charlie
Jason Flemyng Crazy Larry


The Soundtrack from Layer Cake (sometimes stylised as L4YER CAKƐ, such as on the album cover) is composed of 14 tracks.

  1. Hayling - FC Kahuna
  2. Opening - Ilan Eshkeri & Steve McLaughlin
  3. She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult
  4. Can't Get Blue Monday Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue [Original Radio Edit]
  5. You Got The Love - The Source Feat. Candi Staton
  6. Drive To The Boatyard - Ilan Eshkeri
  7. Junky Fight - Lisa Gerrard
  8. Making Plans For Nigel - XTC
  9. Ordinary World - Duran Duran
  10. Ruthless Gravity - Craig Armstrong
  11. Four To The Floor - Starsailor [Soulsavers Mix]
  12. Drive To The Warehouse - Ilan Eshkeri & Lisa Gerrard
  13. Aria (Layer Cake Speech) - Lisa Gerrard With Michael Gambon
  14. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Joe Cocker


Layer Cake received mostly positive reviews, with an 80% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has an average score of 73% based on 30 reviews on Metacritic.


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