1960, Laura Quinn is a successful employee of the London Diamond Corporation. But being a woman she is constantly ignored when it comes to promotion, her male inferiors given the leg up she deserves. Janitor Mr Hobbs offers her a farfetched proposition, to rob their mutual employer of the odd diamond or two. Quinn accepts, but can this odd couple really pull it off?
Michael Radford’s Flawless is a reasonably successful attempt to recreate the British crime capers of yesteryear. Things start awkwardly though, with a contemporary London setting filled with high flying businesswomen hunched over laptops, chatting down their mobiles and generally hammering home the point in an extremely contrived way that women in the modern world have broken down gender barriers in the workplace. The lack of career advancement is one of the motivations for Laura Quinn but this clunky prologue is pretty superfluous. Still, once the tale begins things settle down into an evocative and economical recreation of the early 60s, with a decent score and clever production design. This is an age on the cusp of radical change but still sticking to the traditions of late 50s society, embodied in the male dominated world of the London Diamond Corporation.
Anchoring proceedings is Michael Caine as Hobbs. It helps that he has a history of appearing in heist movies, and while Flawless doesn’t compare favourably with the likes of Gambit or The Italian Job his effortlessly engaging performance does. As the plot develops it transpires that this elderly gentleman has more than robbery on his mind, and Caine gently allows the layers of his character to be revealed in a movie that favours character and atmosphere over high octane thrills. Demi Moore makes for a decent collaborator, for the most part holding her own with Caine to create a believable partnership. These two characters at first glance appear to have nothing in common but they realise they share an underdog status, which makes things more interesting as their relationship is not without its antagonistic side. Once the robbery starts to be investigated the conflicting motivations of the partners in crime bubble to the surface.
Flawless is an old-fashioned heist movie, a gentler offering than what modern audiences are probably used to it has little in the way of surprises. But it’s genuinely enjoyable, has an authentic feel and boasts a pair of appealing lead performances assisted by a high quality supporting cast. It won’t change the world but has its own charm and will certainly entertain.