Saturday, July 05, 2008


2007, UK, directed by Michael Radford

Though the fiendishly clever heist genre is a little overdone in comparison to the actual frequency of such events in the real world, I've always been a fan of the more well-tooled entries, and Flawless is both promising and a little different in its early going. Unlike most such films, the thieves aren't numerous or even in cahoots when the film begins, while they're also not blessed with absurdly expensive gear, just an intelligent plan to which they must carefully adhere. In any case, the film is far less interested in the mechanics of the heist - the only thing that holds the Ocean's Eleven series of films together - than in the characters of the two individuals involved; one of them even makes a specialty of studying the other's psychology. There are also veins of commentary on post-war British society - particularly its healthcare structure - and sexual politics that add a little more depth than usual, though the film can't always deal with such burdens.

Unfortunately, there's ultimately not quite enough attention to the aforementioned mechanics, for the plotting becomes rather muddled - it's as if important bits of information are entirely elided, and the scale of the theft itself simply isn't credible given the time and resources (the film makes the mistake of showing us exactly what's happening, and I didn't buy it). Still, the central performances from Demi Moore - who reminds us that she's a decent actress at heart - and Michael Caine - for whom no reminder is needed - are enjoyable, and just about paper over the cracks while the film is unspooling; Lambert Wilson, an actor I've always liked, is also wonderfully smooth in support.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States