Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Demi Moore, Michael Caine
Director: Michael Radford
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
1960s London: Demi Moore is Laura Quinn, a bright and driven executive at the London Diamond Corporation who finds herself discouraged as male colleagues are repeatedly promoted ahead of her despite her greater experience... more »
Member Movie Reviews
K. K. (GAMER)
Reviewed on 2/10/2016...
thornhillatthemovies.com | Venice, CA United States | 07/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) is a rarity for 1960. She is a Vice President with the world's largest diamond wholesaler, based in London. She watches in frustration as all of her male co-workers are promoted around her, leaving her with the same responsibilities, the same office, the same schedule. She comes in early every day and leaves last every night, yet her boss Sir Milton Ashtoncroft (Joss Ackland) doesn't seem to notice. Ashtoncroft is a shady character at best, but Quinn realizes she will never be able to get a comparable job anywhere else. Mr. Hobbs (Michael Caine), one of the many janitors, has worked for the same company for years. In his nightly rounds, he has made observations and approaches Ms. Quinn with an idea. He could, with her assistance, steal a small handful of diamonds from the company vault, enough to set them each up for a long time. They could each escape the lives they are trapped in. Quinn is dubious but Mr. Hobbs shows her how he would do it, and she is on board. But it looks like Mr. Hobbs has other ideas and other motives.
"Flawless", directed by Michael Radford ("Il Postino") is an interesting, overlooked film. At it's heart, "Flawless" is a caper film "based on a true story", but it presents so many other ideas and themes, making it more complex and watch able.
Michael Caine is, as always, great. Mr. Hobbs is the kindly old man you see hobbling along, happy with his place in life, always eager and willing to do his job. But as we learn more and more about him, we see there are many other levels to his character. Caine is a great actor, a subtle actor and he reveals these layers slowly making them more believable and surprising. It isn't Caine's best performance ever, but Mr. Hobbs is immensely watch able.
Demi Moore is also good as Laura Quinn, an American woman working for an international firm in London in 1960. She realizes how hard she has to work to maintain this position, so she comes to work early and leaves late, always checking in with security as she does so. But what does this get her? A lot of lonely nights at her flat, eating dinner alone. As the story progresses, we see Quinn's aggravation with her situation, but because she has to still maintain her persona, she can't become too emotional or upset. This becomes an asset to their plan.
And when the diamonds are stolen, the company calls in an investigator, Finch (Lambert Wilson). Perhaps the best thing about "Flawless" is that everyone is pretty smart; Mr. Hobbs comes up with the plan, Quinn contributes certain qualities and Finch begins to suspect certain people as he tries to figure out how the robbery was accomplished.
Michael Radford, who gained a lot of attention with "Il Postino", has struggled since, releasing a series of films that were either critically maligned, quickly forgotten by the public, or both. Unfortunately, "Flawless" won't change his fortunes, but it is a good film.
As the story and the heist proceed, he uses the canvas as a way to introduce many other themes, helping to establish the time and setting for the film. The company Quinn and Hobbs work for is a huge diamond collective based in Botswana. In addition to the heist, the company officers have to handle the press who are circling because of the daily protests about the company's involvement with blood diamonds. Laura Quinn recognizes she is a rarity; a female executive at a large corporation in London, and an American woman at that. So this causes her to be a bit tentative and reluctant to join Hobbs plan. Instead, she would rather continue trying to work hard; continue trying to beat at the glass ceiling. As the story unfolds, and she begins to realize how her male co-workers treat her, she knows she will never rise above her current situation.
The story takes some unexpected turns because Hobbs and Quinn aren't honest with one another. And this provides a mild level of excitement. When we finally learn the motive behind the robbery, another theme is introduced.
If this film is, as stated, "based on a true story", it is a story that far ahead of its time. It is for this reason that I have to wonder how much of this story is based on real events. I suspect not much. But "Flawless" is a pleasant diversion and a great film to watch on DVD."
Comical Heist, Michael Caine is a Gem
C. Chu | 07/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film, despite all it's pretended seriousness, political and social correctness is really quite comical. The big boys take themselves a little too seriously, there is all of the chain smoking and polished wingtips, and two unlikely partners in crime. Michael Caine is great as the invisible shuffling janitor in the background, Mr. Hobbs, who patiently and long-sufferingly does the night cleanup. And Demi Moore, as Laura Quinn, the only female manager of the evil diamond company, who has not only been passed over and over again, but about to be axed. The two team up to steal a few stones, and get back at the company. But the plot falls apart for Ms. Quinn when it became apparent to her that Mr. Hobbs has not let her know the exact reason and extent of his plans. She becomes frantic, guilt and betrayal written all over her face, while being investigated by a detective (Finch) who shows a slight romantic interest in her, while she shows too much interest in the investigation. The cat/mouse game ends when Finch figures out that Laura and Mr. Hobbs had been seen together, and a panicking Laura attempts to find out what Mr. Hobbs has done with the diamonds. He only assures her that everything is under control. But Laura panicks and the gig is almost up as Finch closes in.
Laura eventually figures out the scheme, and answers Mr. Hobbs question, "Are you a giver or a taker?" and moving onto the rest of her life without the glass ceiling. Here Mr. Hobbs is like a fairy godfather who solves Ms. Quinn's problems and sets her free to fulfill her destiny.
Not to give away the plot, just suffice it to say, that the symbolism of what Mr. Hobbs does with the diamonds is about the funniest thing, as well as the last minute disposal of one magnificant stone. Just as he leaves his shift, he is called back in a suspenseful moment (leading the audience to think that he is being caught), only to have someone hand him a plunger and ask him to clear the commode.
Big girls need big diamonds
Baking Enthusiast | Chicago, IL USA | 06/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Heist films invariably follow a formula of sorts--there's the Plan, the Execution, and the Getaway. These are the elements that provide the fun in watching capers to begin with. The cleverer these elements, the more fun. In "Flawless," the plan requires no maps, no tunneling, no gizmos, and no crew; heck, not even a getaway car. The execution is nothing more than opening an impenetrable vault, and the getaway is...well, it simply requires the elderly thief to hobble away and shuffle on home.
Not a flawless gem, but a gem nonetheless, "Flawless" is an entertaining romp through 1960s London where a clever and extremely profitable jewel heist is perpetrated by two unlikely partners in crime. Michael Caine stars as Mr. Hobbs, a long-time janitor at London Diamond Corporation, a distributor of diamonds to six continents. Mr. Hobbs will be retiring soon and would like a healthier nest egg than what his pension will provide. In same company is Demi Moore as Laura Quinn, a career-driven, Oxford-educated manager whose lacquered coiffure can't penetrate the proverbial glass ceiling despite her dedication and brains. Soon to be ousted, she's persuaded by Hobbs to be his accomplice in the theft of a mere Thermos-ful of stones, just enough to make them both rich, but not enough to make a noticeable dent in Lon Di's two-ton inventory of uncut diamonds.
There's far more to this story than meets the eye and we'd be mistaken to think that it's all about the money. Hobbs' true motivation and the cleverness of the actual heist will surprise. The film also attempts to inject some social awareness in here, what with the exploitation of S. Africa for its diamonds and the popularity of the film `Blood Diamond.' It's not for nothing that Hobbs, when speaking about his desire to enrich his underfunded retirement, remarks, "War and plunder--two reliable sources of income." These brief forays into political correctness do not impress, though, and seem oddly ill-advised since they're not dealt with in any meaningful way.
The film moves along at a nice, steady pace, neither plodding nor frenetic, and dutifully provides the requisite thrills and plot twists of a heist film. Caine is no Steve McQueen and Moore is no Faye Dunaway, but it's still an elegant and stylish film that evokes a `60s coolness, ciggy-smoking included, set to the equally cool Dave Brubeck Quartet and their "Take Five" jazz piece. As expected, Caine is a joy to watch in his cockney role (which he can probably do in his sleep). Moore, now mature and fully-clothed, is classy albeit with a British accent that comes and goes at will. Together, they're an incongruous but likeable pair, and likeability here is crucial. After all, in heist films we root for the thieves, do we not?"