Movie News & Reviews

OK, if not 'Flawless'

Not too long ago, a friend of mine wrote a piece that listed films with easily mocked and ridiculed titles. (Remember the thunderstorm of easy slams that appeared when "What's The Worst That Can Happen?" came out?)

I can't help but think there had to be a few people on the set of "Flawless" who railed against the movie's title, throwing out a bunch of substitute titles just in case snarky critics decided this movie was, you know, flawed. (Not to mention there was already a "Flawless" that came out several years ago, with Robert De Niro as a stroke victim and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the drag queen who rehabilitates him -- also a flawed project.)

Set in a powerful diamond corporation in 1960s London, this "Flawless" has Demi Moore as a lone female executive who rises through the ranks of the corporation, virtually destroying her personal life in the process. It turns out all that hard work and late hours are all for nought when she learns of her impending termination. That bit of inside information comes from the night janitor (Michael Caine), who uses this bit of info to rope her into his long-standing plan of stealing a hefty amount of diamonds out of the company's vault.

Directed with a deliriously dapper, mod eye by "Il Postino" director Michael Radford, "Flawless" certainly has enough working for it to make it a stylish, sly heist caper/revenge flick. Unfortunately, it gets bogged down with occasional drifts into preachy politicizing (of course, expect some blood-diamond talk here and there), not to mention there's a philanthropic twist near the end that deflates the coolness and makes it kind of treacly.

It's odd seeing Caine and Moore together again, considering last time they were on-screen, it was nearly a quarter of a century ago, when Moore was the daughter to Caine's cradle-robbing daddy in the borderline-creepy bedroom farce "Blame It On Rio." Of the two, Moore's performance is the more, shall we say, dysfunctional. She adopts a mild British accent even though her character is billed as American. If that's not enough, Radford keeps shooting her in unflattering lights, making sure we catch the lines in her face to get that her character has lived a worn-out life. We get it -- she's old! (She's still good-looking, though.)

As for Caine, he's just Caine these days. Reliable to a tee, he's like the British Christopher Walken -- without the nuttiness.

I gotta say "Flawless" left me with one major surprise. The movie's parting shot, with Moore high-heeling it down the street, to the sounds of the Dave Brubeck Quartet's classic "Take Five," has got to be the coolest 10 seconds of film I've seen so far this year. I won't say what those 10 seconds are, but the title says it all.