Flawless is about a swingin’ 1960 heist at a formidable, fictional London diamond company, with a title meant to invoke both the quality of the gems and that of the escapade. I can’t vouch for the clarity of the stones, and the movie itself, directed by Il Postino‘s Michael Radford, is exceedingly cloudy — Michael Caine goes dependably Cockney as a wily old janitor with a grievance who knows an awful lot about company business and has remarkably free access to empty hallways after hours. But as Laura Quinn, the one female company exec, Demi Moore sports an impeccable period wardrobe, coiffure, red lips, and lacquered nails. She smokes beautifully, the way people were allowed to in the good old, bad old Mad Men era now fetishized in fashion and decor magazines, and her high-heeled pumps clack gracefully across polished floors while men ? address her formally as ”Miss Quinn.” In the ritualistic way of a fable dully retrofitted to instruct today’s audiences about past socioeconomic wrongs, she has sacrificed marriage for a career, and she chokes on bitterness as she is repeatedly passed over for promotion. Also, the diamonds are dulled with the shame of African exploitation.
It’s left to Caine to wink and nod at his own contribution to real caper classics of the 1960s and ’70s, produced with more emphasis on fun and less on instructive fact-finding. C