- Rated PG-13
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All photos © Magnolia Pictures
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
ell hath no fury like a woman scorned. That seems to be the driving force behind the indie crime caper “Flawless,” an old-school thriller that doesn’t rely on flashy montages and clever double-crosses to succeed. Instead, the movie is surprisingly low-key, focusing on the characters caught in the middle of the heist rather than the heist itself. It’s not the most exciting crime drama you'll ever see, but it still has enough great moments to satisfy any fan of the genre.
In 1960, big corporations were still very much a boys club. That isn’t to say there weren’t any women in positions of power, but they came few and far between when compared to today. Oxford-educated American Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) is one such woman – the sole female executive at the London Diamond Corporation. Despite a burning ambition to succeed, Laura is constantly passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified male co-workers, so when Mr. Hobbs (Michael Caine), the friendly office custodian, proposes a plan to rob the vault, Laura agrees to help; namely because she’s just discovered that the company is going to use her as the scapegoat of a botched deal. But when the duo’s flawless plan to steal a handful of diamonds results in Hobbs cleaning out the entire vault, Laura is left wondering how her partner-in-crime pulled it off.
Though the movie paints Laura as an intelligent businesswoman, she has the common sense of a five-year-old. Along with hastily meeting Hobbs in office hallways to whisper concerns about getting caught, she also decides to play nice with the investigator (Lambert Wilson) brought in to track down the culprit. To any seasoned detective, Laura’s erratic behavior would instantly raise a red flag. She’s just begging to have a pair of handcuffs slapped across her wrists, and though it can get a bit annoying by her third and fourth offense, it’s entirely necessary in order for the big reveal to work. Of course, most people will already have figured it out for themselves by the time Laura accidentally stumbles upon Hobbs’ secret, but it’s still a pretty ingenious plan for an era that predates electronic security systems.
Because the movie spends so little time on the heist itself, it’s up to the actors to keep things interesting and the slow-paced story moving along. Demi Moore is the clear-cut star of the film, and it marks her first solid performance since returning to acting, but Michael Caine steals the show in his subdued role as the mastermind of the operation. The veteran actor may be a tad underused, but heist movies were his bread and butter back in the day, and he doesn’t disappoint here. It’s just too bad that he doesn’t get to play a bigger role in the grand scheme of things, because the movie tends to grow dull when he’s not onscreen. “Flawless” is anything but what the title suggests, but thanks to an amazing performance from Caine and a handful of clever set pieces, it's a hidden gem worthy of a closer look.