Layer Cake | 2004
The opening school-of-Ritchie voice-over didn’t bode well, but while Mr Madonna plumbed the depths with Swept Away, then found a shovel and kept digging with Revolver, his one-time producer Matthew Vaughn pulls off the near-unbelievable feat of producing a watchable London gangster movie.
There’s little new (apart from the new Bond, of course), but it’s carried off with more attention to plot and character than to cor-look-at-me, ain’t-I-’ard slang.
Although loudmouth Duke – and even louder Slasher – are briefly seen in Amsterdam, the film is shot in, and around, London.
Daniel Craig (the character remains unnamed throughout the movie) lives at 7 Queen’s Gate Mews, Kensington, SW7. The mews has already featured in at least one screen classic: it’s where the unfortunate chauffeur gets his head shaved in Nic Roeg-Donald Cammell’s Performance. Oh, and that flat used to belong to Guy Ritchie (OK, that’s definitely the last mention)
Craig is summoned by Jimmy Price (Kenneth Cranham) to Stoke Park Club, Stoke Poges near Slough in Buckinghamshire. Coincidentally, it’s twice been used as a Bond location, in Goldfinger and Tomorrow Never Dies, as well as featuring in Bridget Jones’s Diary and Bride and Prejudice. Craig’s mission, to track down the missing, wild-child daughter of crime boss Eddie Temple.
He watches helplessly as sidekick Morty (George Harris) indulges in a bit of the old ultra-violence in the lovely, black-tiled, 30s-style Regency Cafe, 17-19 Regency Street at Page Street, Victoria, SW1. Tea as a lethal weapon – how did The Avengers miss that one? The Regency appears to have been transported to the South Coast in Rowan Joffe’s 60s-set revisiting of Brighton Rock.
Craig invites Tammy for a spot of afternoon delight at the swish, Philippe Starck-designed St Martins Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2. Unfortunately, while Tammy is slipping into her perfectly gratuitous suspender belt, Craig is abducted in a laundry trolley, finding himself dangled upside-down from the roof of a half-built high-rise.
The rooftop, where he’s filled in on Jimmy’s duplicity by kingpin Eddie himself (Michael Gambon), is 1 West India Quay at Hertsmere Road, E14, near Canary Wharf, Docklands. The lower floors now house the Marriott International Hotel, and the completed building became the glitzy penthouse apartment of Hank Azaria in Run Fatboy Run.
Settling the score with Jimmy at his luxurious house at St George’s Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, Craig impresses Temple at a meeting in the library of the Athenaeum Club, 107 Pall Mall – though its grand entrance is on the northwest corner of Waterloo Place, SW1.
One of the more staid and severe of the London gentlemen’s clubs, offering virtually automatic membership to the Speaker of the House of Commons, cabinet ministers, bishops, judges and other such pillars of the establishment, this august institution has also been featured in 2015 TV spin-off Spooks: The Greater Good, biopic Wilde, with Stephen Fry as the great writer, Lindsay Anderson’s anarchic O Lucky Man!, gung-ho 1982 SAS actioner Who Dares Wins and David Drury’s 1985 dark paranoia thriller Defence of the Realm.
Trying to rid himself of fearsome Serbian killer Dragan, Craig greets northern hitman Mr Lucky from the train at Paddington Station, and sets a trap, which goes horribly wrong, alongside the statue of General Wolfe at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park.
There’s a great nighttime ’copter shot of Craig and his crew driving south over Southwark Bridge, before the resolution at Eddie Temple’s office, which was built in the vast Heinz Storage Facility at Premier Park, Park Royal, Stonebridge Park, west London. Fittingly, it’s the largest of its kind in the country.