In Layer Cake, which is based upon a British novel of the same name, we get a rare peak into the British criminal underground through the eyes of a very successful cocaine trafficker who is never named, but is played by Daniel Craig. He is well-educated, smart, respectful, and not greedy. Having accumulated enough of a modest fortune for himself to live pleasurably he plans to leave the business while he is still ahead, but that all changes when his supplier Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) assigns him two very difficult tasks before he will be allowed to leave: find the whereabouts of a young woman named Charlie, the daughter of a powerful associate name Eddie Temple (Michael Gambon) and find a buyer for a massive amount of ecstasy pills which have recently been stolen in Amsterdam.
Having little choice in the matter, he begins to try to accomplish both tasks with the help of his crew, comprised of Morty (George Harris), his muscle man and connection to the underworld, Terry (Tamer Hassan) an associate of Morty’s, and another man whose degree in chemistry must now be paid via helping with the cocaine processing.
The plot is constantly evolving to introduce new and interesting characters and levels in the plots and subplots against each of those characters. All of these are far too involved to get into in this review and more to the point, are better experienced without pre-knowledge.
It should suffice to say that the movie is exceptionally effective as a thriller and the actors cast perform brilliantly in their roles. The typical cliches are absent and what’s included are just enough special effects to advance the plot, realistic, well-developed characters, a believable plot, and a realistic and pleasing ending. It is a fantastic British film which hasn’t received much press in the United States market, but is something I would easily recommend buying and then watching, so certain am I of its quality.
As is said in the film, as that to which the title refers, and as an explanation of the movie itself, enjoy the layer cake of which this movie’s plot and characters are made and look for the scene where Morty takes revenge upon the fellow responsible for him serving a ten-year prison sentence as this is what I consider to be the finest cinematic scene of this decade by far.