a critiQal film review Flawless (2008)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: In 1960's London, Laura Quinn (Moore) is a bright executive at The London Diamond Corporation, but has recently become frustrated by the apparent glass ceiling within the company. As man after man is promoted over her, she strikes up a friendship with the night janitor, Hobbs (Caine), who has his own bone to pick with the company. Together, they plan a diamond heist the likes of which London has never seen.

636 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 10s)

While looking for something light to watch the other day, I stumbled across Flawless, now conveniently available for instant streaming via NetFlix®. I vaguely remembered something of the preview about this Demi Moore/Michael Caine heist starrer, and decided this was exactly the type of light fare I was looking for. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out exactly as I expected.

Demi Moore, looking chic and radiant in 1960’s dress, seems to be demeaning herself by starring in a film like Flawless – or maybe it was just the 60’s era that appealed to her. She does a decent job with her character, but the storyline just really can’t back her up, and most of it is lost on the viewers after sitting through this rather dull picture.

Michael Caine, who at first seems a perfect fit, also eventually seems at odds with the film, as the storyline tries to convince viewers he’s something he just isn’t. It’s like he didn’t read the script the whole way through before acting out most of it, and the performance comes off as a ridiculous sham by the end. Definitely not one of his better moments.

While Lambert Wilson tends to blend in a bit better, and Joss Ackland seems perfectly at home harrumphing with his fellow businessman, it’s the odd inability of the story to coincide with Demi and Michael that really seems to hurt the film the most – making even Ackland’s performance less entertaining than it should have been.

The story seems to start off well, with Caine and Moore plotting a little payback on the big bad company that has done them both wrong, but when the film moves abruptly into the next phase, the viewer gets their first hints at what’s to come, and frankly, almost immediately starts to lose interest after the heist itself.

As the company investigates the theft, Demi Moore’s character suddenly is so fidgety and antsy the viewer is shocked she isn’t accused within the first few moments after the theft, since – even though the viewer already knows she’s in on it – it seems like it would be easy to guess she’s got guilty written all over her. The fact the other characters don’t exactly pick up on that certainty immediately gives viewers pause – even the suspicious looks in her direction seem to be down-playing the intelligence of the people around her.

Then, as the storyline seems to slowly drag on from there, the viewer will continue to shake their heads in disgust as she manages to elude capture for what seems like eons. As the film slowly draws to a close, and the inevitable “surprise ending” – which anyone with half a brain could have predicted long before, if there mind hadn’t become dulled by the film’s seemingly endless middle – the viewer doesn’t even try to leap over the gaping plot holes that lead back to the beginning, happy to just let the film do whatever it wants, as long as the end credits keep approaching.

The film’s one redeeming factor is in it’s portrayal of business during what looks to be the 50’s. Looking like an ad for “Mad Men”, Flawless seems to have spent much of it’s time on doing it’s best to bring a business-oriented big-band era style back to life. Unfortunately, while the viewer will like the vividness of that vision, it’s not enough to keep the viewer entertained enough to stick around all the way to the bitter end.

Apart from it’s nostalgic look at the big band era, business-style, the film’s ill use of it’s main stars Demi and Caine is so blatant, it’s no wonder viewers may miss Ackland’s perfect fit in his role, or Lambert Wilson’s sly investigator. Instead, they’ll look at Flawless and see nothing but flaws.

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