Movies: Slumming with the Brits

Class envy, novel murders and lifestyle voyeurism: Layer Cake's a classic English antihero movie

Low lives recounted in high style. That has become the sensational British movie genre of our times. Think I'll Sleep When I'm Dead. Or Sexy Beast. Or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The newest, Layer Cake, is among the best of this mutt breed--undistinguished bloodlines that have somehow produced a sleek, fast-moving movie creature.

Layer Cake features, yes, an antihero with no name and no backstory. He's simply called XXXX in the credits, and he's played by a gelid Daniel Craig. He is a) a drug dealer and b) a man who, having made his pile, wishes to abandon his...

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