Directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring Daniel Craig, Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy, Colm Meaney, Jamie Foreman, Kenneth Cranham and Sienna Miller.

'Layer Cake' follows an unnamed but very successful cocaine dealer (Craig) who is about to take early retirement. But before he can leave the criminal world behind he must complete one last job for crime boss Jimmy Price (Cranham).

Price asks him to find Charlotte Ryder (Miller), the missing daughter of an old friend. However, the job is not straightforward and, when a drug deal goes wrong, the dealer begins to doubt if he will even stay alive long enough to make it to his planned retirement. 

'Layer Cake' is a gritty gangster film and although there is one strong central storyline, there are also plenty of subplots, which ensure that the film maintains non-stop action and nail-biting twists and turns.

At times it is extremely gruesome but, given the complexities of the criminals' lives, this is justified. That doesn't take away from the fact that some of the scenes are very difficult to watch and should be avoided by the faint hearted. As a balance, there is some dark humour, with the comedic lines well-timed and spread throughout the entire cast. The film also provides an excellent soundtrack that sets each scene very well.

Mathew Vaughn, the producer behind 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Snatch', makes his directorial debut here and, as expected, there are some similarities - the creation of a murky, tense atmosphere and the backdrop of the London underworld - between the three films.

Despite this, with a host of new faces and a fresh script, adapted from the JJ Connolly novel, Vaughn has established himself as a director in his own right and steps out from the shadows of the better known Guy Ritchie.

Eilish Barry