Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. 78
    Layer Cake is suffused with a stately sense of menace and a sort of doomed existential suave.
  2. 75
    Cheeky, brass-knuckles British crime film.
  3. 50
    A lot of the problem is that the picture's protagonist is both naive and foul.
  4. Doesn't reveal all its layers until you've taken the last bite.
  5. 80
    A colorful cast whose combined energy lifts the story off the ground.
  6. 88
    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.
  7. Don't let the fast-and-loose vibe fool you: Right up to its operatic finale, this is one tight one last job.
  8. 70
    By the end, you may be exhausted by the effort of trying to unravel the thing, but you may also be taken by the power of its spell. This is a movie that compels you to watch.
  9. Fast, convulsive, and densely exciting new British gangster thriller.
  10. Reviewed by: Chris Barsanti
    70
    The writing is crisp and deeply layered, and the filmmakers gave themselves a rich array of actors to work with.
  11. 70
    A sleek, effective entertainment that is a refreshing respite from the slick emptiness of recent American crime dramas.
  12. 75
    It's like "Lock, Stock" as filtered through the mind of David Mamet, with Craig as the suave middleman holding it all together.
  13. Laced with flashbacks and stylistic tics, but it never loses its forward momentum, and to the last shot, it avoids predictability.
  14. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    75
    This is a smart, vivid, thrillingly real gangster picture that nevertheless resembles many others.
  15. Things get a little tricky by the end, but it's the sort of trickery that's immensely satisfying.
  16. 58
    Lively, cheeky, dense and, ultimately, too flip, clever and torturously twisted to be fully engrossing.
  17. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    It’s hilarious, and genuinely cool.
  18. A crime drama in a special class.
  19. Craig's got the stuff but the ending of this cake is soggy for its protagonist and audience.
  20. 70
    The always-dependable and chameleon-like Craig has the chops and substance for that kind of film, but Vaughn prefers to keep matters brisk and superficial.
  21. One of those crime flicks besotted with its own plot.
  22. Smartly put together, with interesting characters and caustic wit.
  23. The newest in British gangland entertainment and the tastiest in years.
  24. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    Layer Cake is a treat--especially if your taste in desserts is devil's food.
  25. 60
    The result is so intoxicating, it hardly matters that you've heard it all before.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    There's a lot here to feed crime-fiction enthusiasts.
  27. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    80
    There's a proper lived-in believability about Layer Cake's depiction of how the worlds of the rich, the criminal and the criminally rich intersect.
  28. What's abundantly clear is how far this kind of moviemaking has come from any knowledge of real criminal life; it's a geek's ineffectual daydream of mayhem.
  29. It's a stylish and classic gangster saga about the clashing of rival empires.
  30. The director Vaughn has a flair not merely for action and ambiance but also for character.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 108 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Sep 13, 2014
    10
    Layer Cake is a well constructed gangster thriller with marvellous acting and fun confronting scenes.
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    Full Review »
  2. Sep 13, 2014
    10
    A fast paced, gripping crime drama with Daniels Craig as a mobster and various other mob characters.
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    Full Review »
  3. WesM
    Jul 28, 2008
    10
    The ultimate synthesis of recent British crime classis; the seriousness, characterization and aesthetics of Sexy Beast and the loopy, multilayered plotting and style of Lock Stock... and Snatch. Very highly recommended. Full Review »