Directed by Michael Radford
Written by Edward A. Anderson
Starring: Demi Moore, Michael Caine, Lambert Wilson, Nathaniel Parker, Shaughan Seymour, Nicholas Jones, David Barrass, and Joss Ackland
Just like the nameless “negro” narrator of Ralph Ellison’s classic novel of 1940s Harlem, Invisible Man, Hobbs (Michael Caine) is an invisible man in early-1960s, not-yet-swinging London. The aging nighttime janitor, a widower who labors for a multinational diamond corporation, moves unseen through the world he despises.
But Hobbs, highly overqualified for his job, is no fool, and he makes the most of his invisibility: He overhears confidential corporate conversations; he digs damning documents out of the garbage; and he knows more about what’s going on at London Diamond than chain-smoking, married-to-her-job Laura Quinn (an almost unrecognizable Demi Moore), the company’s sole woman executive.
Suggesting that the company’s being less than generous with his retirement package, Hobbs, using executive-caliber powers of persuasion, slickly manipulates Quinn to help him bring karmic justice to their filthy-rich and soullessly exploitative employer. Quinn, convinced that London Diamond has put an impenetrable glass ceiling between her and the promotion she craves, is more than susceptible to Hobbs’s wily influence and low-key charm.
The iconic sound of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” sets the mood and rhythm, and the stylish direction of Michael Radford (The Merchant of Venice, Il Postino) sustains them throughout, so that Flawless, a thriller unmarred by gaping plot holes, proves to be that rarest of all gems—an intelligent and thoroughly entertaining heist flick with heart.
It isn’t quite flawless, but it comes close. —RR