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X (Daniel Craig) is doing well in the cocaine business, seeing himself less
as a gangster & mroe as a slick businessman, routinely shying away from
weapons, loudmouthed wannabe-gangstas, or anyone who takes the stuff he is
But his lifestyle is threatened when his boss, Jimmy Price
(Kenneth Cranham) asks him to find the daughter of his boss, Eddie Temple
(Michael Gambon) & make a deal with Duke (Jamie Foreman) exactly the kind
of loud-mouthed gangsta-wannabe X tries desperately to avoid ... & how
right he was, because even though Duke has one million ecstasy pills in his
possession, he has stolen them from ruthless Serbian drugdealer Dragan (Dragan
Micanovic), who doesn't mind in the slightest using extreme violence, &
soon thinks that X is Duke's partner.
To make matters worse, Eddie Temple
doesn't want his daughter to be found by X and associates because Jimmy is
really planning to take her hostage - which no dad would be too fond of -,
&, as he tells X, Jimmy is a police informer, plus he wants X to sell him
the millon pills of E ... for which X not only has another buyer, but Dragan
also wants them back ... & he is most persistent.
& as if that wasn't
enough, X's right-hand man Morty (Geroge Harris) takes a leave, & Duke
(& the pills with him) vanishes without a trace.
The only thing X can do
right away is to kill Jimmy (not that he likes doing it), & with a gun that
was given to him by Gene (Colm Meany), Jimmy's own right-hand man too. Then he
pickes up the trail of the E by having Duke's naive not-even-wannabe-gangsta
Sidney (Ben Whishaw) shadowed ... & is almost kileld by Gene, who wants to
avenge his boss, & is only stopped when he hears the evidence that Jimmy
indeed was an informer ...
X finds out too, that Gene has indeed killed Duke,
& keeps the corpse in his own fridge ... which gives him an idea ...
next day, X is buying the pills from Sidney when the police wraids the place,
& X, Sidney & his gang make a narrow escape ... but the police was just
a set-up X needed for Dragan, who had him watched all of the time, while X
needed a proper excuse why he didn't ahve the pills (& what could be better
than a police raid), but at least he offers him Duke's head (in a cool-bag),
which satuisfies the violent Serb.
... then X sells the E to Eddie ... &
ends up with nothing, because Eddie takes the stuff as recompensation for X and
company looking for his daughter (even if they did it with the best of moties)
... but rather more surprisingly, X falls up the ladder & becomes Jimmy
Price's successor ... but he prefers to leave his life of crime
altogether before geting killed himself, & spend the rest of his days with
Tammy (Sienna Miller), a girl he stole from Sidney ...
But only moments after
he has announced his retirement, X is gunned down by none other than Sidney,
the most harmless cahracter of the movie ...
One of these
drugrunning stories that has so many twists & turns that it is extremely
hard to follow (& much harder to recount) ... but in the case of Layer
Cake, that actually works for the movie, which is essentially about this
guy who lives a well-ordered life (of crime) that is all of a sudden thrown
off-track by one little incident (which is caused exactly by his well-ordered
life of cirme) & that drags him into a whirlpool of death & violence,
which he so carefully tried to avoid. & somehow, even the very cold &
overly stylish direction of the movie works to great effect.