Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Michael Caine and Demi Moore Team for Multi-Layered Whodunit

Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) is the first female executive at the London Diamond Corporation, England’s leading importer of precious gems. Despite being one of the firm’s most deserving employees, the ambitious, 38 year-old American has repeatedly been passed over for a promotion to managing director in favor of lesser-qualified male colleagues.
This slight has not been lost on Mr. Hobbs (Michael Caine), the close to retiring janitor at the company’s headquarters. Because she reminds him of his dearly-departed wife, the elderly widower approaches Laura with felonious intentions, hoping she’s disgruntled enough about hitting the glass ceiling to help him hatch a heist of the vault in the business’ basement.
Although she initially threatens to report the old codger, she cools down sufficiently to entertain the idea. The seemingly foolproof plan sounds simple enough. All she has to do is first find the out the combination, and Hobbs will crack the safe during his overnight shift. And he promises to purloin only a tiny pouchful of priceless stones, so no one will even notice the theft.
But the best laid plans often go awry, especially in as complex a crime caper as Flawless. Directed by Oscar-nominee Michael Radford (for Il Postino), this multi-layered whodunit is masterfully-constructed to keep you confounded and guessing about the next bizarre twist from start to finish.
Set in 1960, the film pairs the gracefully-aging Demi Moore in her best role in recent memory opposite the ever-reliable Michael Caine in an intriguing a cat-and-mouse thriller reminiscent of Sleuth, the 1972 battle-of-wits for which he earned an Academy Award nomination. Here, Quinn hands over the combination to the lock, only to have second thoughts because of a recently installed surveillance system. However, Hobbs says he has already figured out how to defeat it, and ignores her pleas to back out of the conspiracy, determined to proceed regardless.
The plot thickens the morning after the robbery, when it is discovered that the vault has been cleaned out, and the company announces losses in the hundreds of millions. Why did Hobbs change his mind and steal more than agreed upon amount of stones? Did greed get the better of him or did he have a massive robbery in mind all along?
And with the case having all the earmarks of an inside job, how long will he and Laura keep from arousing the suspicion of the investigating detectives? These are just a few of the questions raised en route to the surprising resolution of as intriguing a psychological mindbender as you could hope to wrap your head around.

Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for brief profanity.
Running time: 110 minutes
Studio: Magnolia Pictures

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