The CV of director Michael Radford is nothing if not a lesson in cultural diversity: Born in India to a British father and an Austrian mother, he has directed films in England, Italy (that Oscar-nominated trifle of tourist porn, Il Postino), Africa, and the U.S., most of which would scarcely be missed were the world’s celluloid stockpiles suddenly to disappear. Radford’s latest—a jewel-heist caper set in London—is no exception. In an abortive comeback role, Demi Moore stars as the sole female executive at the fictional London Diamond Corporation, who, upon learning she’s about to get the boot, teams up with a crafty cockney night janitor (Michael Caine) to empty the corporate vault of its £100 million inventory. Rife with the lipstick traces of Inside Man, The League of Gentlemen (which it explicitly references), and countless other superior heist pictures, Flawless is the sort of movie that tends to get called “enjoyably old-fashioned,” except that there’s nothing enjoyable about it. The pacing is torpid, the plotting slack, and the performances utterly joyless—chiefly Moore, who walks through every scene with her face stretched into an expressionless mask, her lips pressed into a permanent pout. All of which is preferable to the movie’s nauseatingly PC save-the-world coda, so heavy-handed you expect Sally Struthers to greet you with a donation cup as you exit the theater.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 25, 2008