This clever diamond-heist thriller stars Demi Moore, who plays Laura Quinn, a bright, driven, and beautiful executive at the London Diamond Corporation who finds herself frustrated by a glass ceiling. Michael Caine is Hobbs, the nighttime janitor who obse
It would be overpraise to propose that Flawless
reviews itself with its title, but... how about "supremely decorous"? It is, at any rate, a film that merits a grateful salute from audiences weary of being beaten about the head and shoulders in pursuit of an engrossing caper movie. A plot to make off with a fortune in gems from England's premier diamond company unfolds without explosions, vrooming vehicles, or rapid-fire shootouts. It's like a feature-length variation on those sly, soft-spoken Alfred Hitchcock Presents
episodes of the '50s, with the patient accumulation of mood, detail and character leading to wry twists and satisfying revelations. We are in 1960 and a London not yet disposed to swing. Laura Quinn (Demi Moore), the lone female officer of London Diamond Corporation, is smarter and more capable than her male colleagues, but that doesn't deter the company from promoting them over her while profiting from her talents. This has long since gotten old, so when Mr. Hobbs (Michael Caine), the mild-mannered night janitor, enlists her in a scheme to fill his thermos with two million pounds' worth of diamonds from the vault, she listens. Suffice it to say that the vault is penetrated according to plan--and then the real tension sets in. Things are not what they seem, even to those supposedly in the know (us, for instance), and distrust springs up between the conspirators as they find themselves under close scrutiny by a steely investigator (Lambert Wilson).
All this is intelligently scripted by Edward A. Anderson (a maiden effort) and directed by Michael Radford with a crisp, unostentatious eye; the cold interiors of the Lon Di headquarters, generically oppressive on first sight, take on a nuanced familiarity as the place where, for the most part, Laura Quinn spends her life. Demi Moore--scarlet lips in a black-and-grey world--admirably catches Laura's not-quite-smothered ambition and frustration without breaking her cover, as it were. Michael Caine couldn't be better as Hobbs, an invisible man in plain sight (how many viewers fail to notice his first appearance in the film?); he's the master of his trade, but you knew that. There's a framing story, set more or less in the present, which seems to be an obligatory bow to feminism but sets up a tease or two of its own, then adds yet another twist to the proceedings. --Richard T. Jameson