Layer Cake

Rated 3.0

An English cocaine dealer (Daniel Craig) is hoping to retire but gets involved in two projects—moving a million tablets of ecstasy and finding the teenage daughter of a drug kingpin—that turn out to be connected in ways he never imagined. Written by J.J. Connolly (from his novel) and directed at a gallop by Matthew Vaughn, the film isn’t always easy to follow, mainly because the hero himself is often in the dark, but it’s an engrossing ride. Connolly and Vaughn depend more on psychological detail, mixed with the occasional plot surprise, than on violence—the bloodshed is surprisingly restrained, though the threat is enough to keep you on edge. Craig makes a suitably steely-eyed protagonist, and the reliable supporting cast includes Colm Meaney, George Harris, Kenneth Cranham and Michael Gambon.