[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/layercake_3575.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[NumberTwo Gene]], [[NoNameGiven XXXX]] and [[DarkAndTroubledPast Morty]]]]

-> ''"Opera tonight. ''[[Theatre/{{Faust}} The Damnation of Faust]]''. Man sells his soul to the devil, it all ends in tears. These arrangements usually do."''
-->-- '''Eddie Temple'''

'''''Layer Cake''''' (2004) is a British crime film.

A not-so-legal London businessman (DanielCraig), planning for an early retirement, gets in slightly over his head during [[OneLastJob one final deal]]. [[FromBadToWorse Things quickly escalate]], until our protagonist gets double-crossed, loses control and, as they say across the pond, everything goes tits up.

The star-studded cast features a plethora of British celebs, some of whom were already famous before this flick (see HeyItsThatGuy), and some having struck fame state-side after ''Layer Cake'', particularly our [[Film/JamesBond protagonist]].

Directed by Mathew Vaughan, and based on a novel by J.J. Connolly, ''Layer Cake'' is a clever, character-driven take on the classic gangster flick, rounded out by a brief romance, genuinely unexpected twists, and an [[{{Britain}} overload of Britishisms]].

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!!This film contains examples of:

* AccentRelapse: [[ConMan Cody and Tiptoes]], who are introduced as [[UpperClassTwit toffs]], are just using silly accents on some impressionable female tourists. They revert to their London accents soon after.
* AnyoneCanDie
* ApologeticAttacker: [[spoiler: Sidney]]
* AsLongAsItSoundsForeign: See FakeNationality below.
* BatmanGambit: Eddie banks on Mr. X's success of getting the pills off the Serbians so the two can make a drug deal for themselves. [[spoiler: X delivers, but Eddie holds his folks under gunpoint and withholds any payment for him. It turns out that X already foresees this and ambushes Eddie's transporters]]
* BerserkButton: If you've just run into the guy who your incompetence landed in jail for ten years, it's probably best not to ask for money as soon as you've said hello.
* BlackAndGreyMorality
* BlackComedyBurst: At heart it's a brutal film about the perils of the drug trade, but there's an awful lot of GallowsHumour about too.
* BookEnds: The film starts with an [[ArmedBlag armed robbery of a payroll van]] in the [[TheSixties 60's]], and [[FullCircleRevolution ends with an armed robbery of a drug shipment]].
-->'''Trevor''': "Just like the old days, Shanks. A nice bit of armed robbery."
* BigBadEnsemble: The Serbian drug trafficker, Eddie Temple, and [[spoiler:Jimmy Price.]] All three are leaders of prominent criminal organizations, with various motivations for inciting the plot. Eddie Temple is the most benevolent one, and X comes to work for him.
* BillingDisplacement: The film advertising prominently places Sienna Miller with Craig, even though she plays a minor character in the film.
* BrainsAndBrawn: Most noticeably with Gene and his bruiser, but obvious throughout most of the gangster circles.
-->'''The Duke''' (to XXXX): You wouldn't be so fuckin' flash if you didn't have ''him'' behind you!"
-->'''Gene''': Yeah, well he fuckin' ''has'', hasn't he?
* BreakingTheFourthWall: a particularly twisted example. At the end of the movie, X turns around and tells the audience, "My name? If you know that, you'd be as clever as me." [[spoiler: Because he turns around, he can't see that Sidney is coming to him with a gun.]]
* ChekhovsGunman: [[spoiler:Sidney, who shoots XXXX at the very end, perhaps fatally.]]
* ClusterFBomb: The film contains 150 F-bombs, which averages out to one every 42 seconds.
* CoincidentalBroadcast: In the book only.
* CompanionCube: Gene and his guns, especially his silenced pistol.
-->'''Morty''': I hope you don't tell the other guns you have a favourite!
* TheCon: The climax of the movie. XXXX has to retrieve drugs from a rogue gang branch, placate the Serbian gang, and deliver the drugs to Eddie.
* CoolGuns: Amongst many others, Gene keeps a P08/Luger and a Thompson submachine gun in his cabinet.
* UsefulNotes/CouncilEstate: The grim location of Kinky's crack den.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The cover of the film's post-''Film/CasinoRoyale'' DVD release shows Craig in a Film/JamesBond-style pose. In the film, he does that in only one scene as a joke.
* CrazyJealousGuy: [[spoiler:Sidney]]
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Having your chest ironed.
* CurbStompBattle: Morty against Freddie, [[spoiler: for managing morty 10 years inside and then asking for handouts for the first time they meet afterward]], and later Gene against [[spoiler: XXXX, for killing Jimmy Price]]. See ExtremeMeleeRevenge below.
* DamnItFeelsGoodToBeAGangster: Deconstructed and then reconstructed by the end. At first XXXX proclaims his job to be an excellent method of employment with good retirement options. When he finally does end up facing the rest of the criminal underworld, however, they're all either idiots or terrifying cold-hearted thugs and all with their own flaws and quirks. [[spoiler: XXXX also finds out how much killing someone affects your conscience and peace of mind. In the end, however, the trope is at least partially reconstructed by Eddie Temple with an incredibly cool speech about the nature of the criminal game.]]
--> [[spoiler: You're born, you take shit. You get out in the world, you take more shit. You climb a little higher, you take less shit. Till one day you're up in the rarefied atmosphere and you've forgotten what shit even looks like. Welcome to the layer cake, son.]]
* DangerouslyGenreSavvy: X after Eddie robs him his pills. [[spoiler: Turns out he's already planned to ambush Eddie's mercs and rob his pills back.]]
--> [[spoiler: Did I really think Eddie's gonna give me three million for those pills? Did I '''fuck'''.]]
* DestroyTheEvidence: [[spoiler: XXXX [[FieryCoverup burns the clothes he was wearing to assassinate Jimmy]], but forgot to retrieve the cartridge case]].
* DiabolicalMastermind: Eddie Temple; also, probably whoever the head of the Serbians is, given that Dragan is at a near Keyser Soze level of scary, and he's a subordinate of someone who might not even be the main guy.
* DiabolusExMachina: The end of the movie: [[spoiler: after winning at everything, he walks out of the club, prepared to ride off into the sunset with the girl, and is instantly shot to death by a minor character with no previously shown violent tendencies]]. And apparently, the test audiences ''wanted it that way''.
* DiegeticSwitch: Used with the infamous "Ordinary World" scene; the Duran Duran track can be heard faintly in the background before Morty gets his money out.
* DoesntLikeGuns: XXXX states this outright. In the novel, Cody also has this attitude, which makes sense, since he's a [[ConMenHateGuns con man]].
* DoubleStandardRapeMaleOnMale: Averted; it's treated as horrifying. Crazy Larry's treatment of men led to at least one man committing suicide and [[spoiler: to being killed by Gene, himself possibly a victim of Larry]].
* TheDragon:
** The Serbian drug trafficker has one who's actually named Dragan. [[spoiler:He's such a tough dragon that he never comes close to getting defeated.]]
** Mr. [[MeaningfulName Troop]], ex-soldier and Eddie Temple's right-hand man for dirty work.
* DrugsAreBad: Used very sparingly for a film based entirely around the drug business; the worst we see is stupid coked-up gansters and the death of Kinky from an overdose in his crackhouse. [[spoiler: And it turns out Kinky was deliberately spiked by Eddie Temple's "fixers".]]
* DrowningMySorrows: XXXX blitzes on pills and whisky [[spoiler: after killing Jimmy]].
* ExtremeMeleeRevenge: Morty is quite ticked off with Freddie. Gene also begins to deliver one to [[spoiler: XXXX when he finds out he killed Jimmy Price]].
* TheFaceless: Dragan, until the very end of the film.
* FadeToWhite
* FakeNationality: The Serbians are played by Romanians who, [[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign when not speaking English, speak Romanian]].
* FalseFlagOperation: X fakes a police raid to extract the ecstasies from splinter gang, as well as to trick Dragan into conceding his people's stolen pills for good. He knows that the Serbians are satisfied enough with the death of those who steal their drugs.
* FatAndSkinny: [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Liverpudlians Trevor and Shanks]]. Trevor is a big, laid-back black guy and Shanks is white, skinny and highly twitchy.
* FauxAffablyEvil: Several of the gangster characters, particularly Morty and Gene, Eddie Temple, and the protagonist himself.
* GangstaStyle: Done by the Duke's gang. Probably an instance where the people doing this were supposed to look stupid.
* {{Gayngster}}: Crazy Larry, who was also a DepravedHomosexual, who raped straight men and strangled the odd rent-boy. [[spoiler: Gene killed him with the rare gun mentioned below, as a sort of MercyKill because Larry was over the edge.]]
* GenericEthnicCrimeGang: The Serbians.
* GetRichQuickScheme: Jimmy's plan to steal a huge batch of ecstasy from beneath the noses of a crime ring.
* GrievousBottleyHarm: Freddie takes a ketchup bottle to the face.
* GunStripping: Gene does this when showing X his collection of guns. X remarks that he bets Gene could do this blindfolded, and Gene replies that he has done so.
* HeadphonesEqualIsolation: The Scouse gangsters have a hitman on staff who unnervingly is always wearing headphones; [[CrowningMomentOfFunny turns out he's learning French for a class and is hilariously bad at it]].
* HeelFaceTurn: Gene after hearing Eddie's tape
* JerkAss: Mr. X himself. But Crazy Larry [[IncrediblyLamePun takes the cake]].
* INeedAFreakingDrink:
-->'''Gene''': Now, if Freddie dies, you're either in the dock with Morty, or you're in the witness box putting him away. Think about that.
-->'''XXXX''': *[[OhCrap beat]]* You know, I will have one of those.
* KubrickStare: Used as MatchCut BookEnds when [[spoiler: XXXX decides to kill Jimmy]]
* LighterAndSofter: The film mostly fits this compared to the novel, as in the novel, pretty much every gangster has a HairTriggerTemper and all are a lot more thuggish; likewise, the protagonist is a jerkass, only slightly more polished than his associates. However, the ending of the film is darker than that of the novel.
* LondonGangster: Hangs a major lampshade on most of the tropes; most of the characters are almost nothing like typical London Gangster stereotypes.
-->'''XXXX'''': ...and avoid, like the fucking plague, loud, attention-seeking, wannabe gangsters, in it for the glory, to be a face, to be a name. They don't mean to fuck up. They just do.
* LoveableRogue: the two con artists the protagonist occasionally hires.
* MacGuffin: Eddie Temple's daughter whom the protagonist is supposed to find but is never actually found by him nor appears on screen.
* MatchCut: Used several times within the film, most notably to [[BookEnds book end]] the assassination sequence.
* {{Narrator}}: XXXX serves as this at the start of the film in order to provide some exposition about drugs and crime.
* NoNameGiven: "My name? If you knew that, you'd be as clever as me." He's referred to as XXXX in the credits.
* NotSoAboveItAll: The protagonist likes to consider himself "not a gangster, only a businessman whose commodity happens to be cocaine", but is increasingly drawn into the grittier side of his profession.
* OneLastJob: See {{Retirony}}
* PragmaticVillainy:
** The Designated Antagonist's ideology makes the gangster protagonists look good by comparison. Also, in the book, one of the gangsters owns a sex shop and has a practice of telling someone asking for child porn to come back later that night, at which point they will be ambushed and beaten to a pulp.
** After seeing their stolen ecstasy's holdout busted by the cops, the Serbs let X live. Granted, [[spoiler:they don't know the bust was staged by X]], but the idea is that they don't prolong bloodfeuds for a lost cause.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: [[spoiler: On both Jimmy and Mr. Lucky]].
* ProductPromotionParade: A surreal fantasy version featuring a pharmacy/boutique full of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Connection_(clothing) FCUK]]-branded cocaine and ecstasy; the founder of French Connection was one of the films producers.
* ProfessionalKiller:
** [[spoiler: Inverted with the protagonist, in the film at least. XXXX hates guns and killing, and when he does assassinate Price it affects him so much afterwards that he can barely function for an indeterminately long montage of drinking, sedation, and hiding in his apartment watching TV and occasionally twitching.]]
** Although played straight with Dragan and Gene.
* PunctuatedForEmphasis: YES! FUCKING! PLEASE!
* RareGuns: The gun that the protagonist borrows from Gene [[spoiler: and kills his boss with]] is an obscure Chinese military pistol, which makes it understandable that police were easily able to trace the gun and identify its use in an earlier murder.
* ReadyForLovemaking
* RealitySubtext: The actor, Jamie Foreman, who plays the Duke, is the son of an actual LondonGangster, Freddie Foreman, who was an associate of the Kray Twins.
* {{Retirony}}: Not by enemy gangsters, but by the jealous ex-boyfriend.
* ReverseMole: [[spoiler: Jimmy Price, who's been planning on shopping XXXX and Gene to the police so he can make a clean getaway with XXXX's money]].
* RoomDisservice: How the MagnificentBastard gangster has the protagonist brought to him, preventing him from having sex with Sienna Miller.
* RuthlessForeignGangsters: The Serbians. War criminals who double as drug producers.
* ScaryBlackMan: Averted by the two main black characters, Morty and Trevor, who are very soft spoken and seem perpetually calm. Eventually played straight when the [[TooDumbToLive idiot who landed Morty in jail for ten years wanders into the café and asks him for money]]. [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown Carnage]] [[VillainousBreakdown ensues]].
* SchrodingersCat: While surviving and leaving England in the book, the protagonist is implied to die in the movie. Connolly does write a sequel book titled Viva La Madness, but whether it's going to be adapted for theatre remains to be seen.
* ScopeSnipe: Used against [[spoiler: Mr. Lucky]]. Triggers an OhCrap from XXXX.
* ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules: The Serbians are are an evil version of this. While a fortune in drugs was stolen from them, it turns out that this is just a pittance and they are content with the deaths of those who stole from them.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: After Morty's ExtremeMeleeRevenge;
-->'''XXXX''': What the ''fuck''?!
-->'''Morty''': ...I might not be around for a while.
* SharpDressedMan: XXXX sure looks good in a nice suit.
* ShoutOut: When Eddie Temple has the protagonist kidnapped, their conversation is filmed overlooking construction in the Docklands area of London. This is a reference to ''TheLongGoodFriday'', in which LondonGangster Harold Shand wanted to [[RealitySubtext develop that area]] as part of his efforts to become a respectable businessman. Thus, Eddie has succeeded where Harold failed.
* ShowerOfAngst: XXXX takes one after [[spoiler: he shoots Jimmy]].
* SoundtrackDissonance: The use of Duran Duran during [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VHyFuZgd4E this particular scene.]]
* SpannerInTheWorks: The tiniest loose ends can get you in the end.
* SpotOfTea: Naturally, being a British film... but horrifically subverted. More pertinently, [[ImprovisedWeapon Several Litres Of Boiling Liquid.]]
-->'''Morty:''' But let's forget about all that. Let's have a cup of tea, Mr Hurst.
* [[StuffedIntoTheFridge Stuffed Into The Freezer]]: [[spoiler: The Duke]]
* TerroristWithoutACause: The Serbian war criminals (Neo-Nazis in the book) who have largely given up their ideological interests to be brutal and successful professional criminals. Also an example of Western Terrorists.
* TitleDrop:
--> "Welcome to the layer cake."
* TooDumbToLive: The Duke and his followers.
** Freddie Hurst.
* TookALevelInBadass: XXXX spends much of the film thinking he's in control and on the top of his game... only to be played by someone else further up the chain. After he [[spoiler: kills Jimmy]] he becomes a ''lot'' more ruthless and thorough.
* TooSoon: In the novel, in the scene where X tries to use the Sniper to kill one of the RuthlessForeignGangsters, an American tourist is mistaken for the target, and is killed by the Sniper. This is partially PlayedForLaughs, because when the actual target runs away, the Sniper refuses to shoot him, as he was only paid for one killing that day. It's indicated that the death is spun as a casualty of the WarOnTerror. When the film was made, distributors thought that this wouldn't go over well, especially in America, so it instead became a scene where the Sniper got killed by a ScopeSnipe.
* UnwittingPawn: [[spoiler: XXXX, for most of the film, is being manipulated by either Jimmy or Eddie.]]
* TheVillainKnowsWhereYouLive: The protagonist is going to meet his girlfriend at a hotel rendezvous when he gets abducted by a DiabolicalMastermind gangster, and at the end of their "interview", he's casually dropped off at his home, which the other guy wouldn't know unless he'd been keeping close tabs on him.
* VillainProtagonist: Almost all the characters are drug dealers and gangsters, including X, the main character.
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: Eddie Temple (Eddie Ryder in the novel)
* VillainyDiscretionShot: Justified; the protagonist himself finds the "end users" of his business quite distasteful, and steers clear of any involvement with them, so no one is shown becoming addicted to or overdosing on his drugs.
* WarriorPoet: Played partly for laughs with Gene and his habit of meditating with guns through GunStripping and the like, although his personality fits the trope, being generally a fairly mellow guy.
* WickedCultured: Eddie Temple, especially, who is an opera lover and has a vast library in his estate; his counterpart in the novel attends opera but doesn't seem to actually like it much, although he has an unusual interest in Buddhism due to a GranolaGirl second wife
* WittyBanter: Lampshaded when XXXX goes to negotiate with Eddie Temple about a buyer for the stolen ecstasy.
-->'''Eddie''': Hello, young man. Thank you for coming at such short notice. I hope you didn't feel too summoned? How are you?
-->'''XXXX''': I'm in the best of health, Mr. Temple. Thank you for asking. How are you keeping?
-->'''Eddie''': I'm very well.
-->'''XXXX''': How was the performance of Faust?
-->'''Eddie''': Complex. No wonder it took him sixty years to write it.
-->'''XXXX''': How's the family?
-->'''Eddie''': What the fuck is this? A vicar's tea party?
* XanatosGambit: Jimmy's plan with Mr. X. Why does he order X to find Eddie's daughter? [[spoiler: To kidnap her. He knows X's plan to retire, and he's been in a deep financial shit because of stupid investments and his feud with Eddie. If Eddie's thugs kill X, Jimmy can cut his losses; if X gets Eddie's daughter, Jimmy can use her to blackmail Eddie to bailing him out.]] Fortunately, Eddie intervenes.
* XtremeKoolLetterz: The film was released as ''L4yer Cak3'' in the United States.
** And the UK DVD release too
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