The last time Michael Caine and Demi Moore starred together on screen they were playing middle-aged father and nubile daughter in the 1983 sex comedy Blame It on Rio. A quarter of a century later, they’ve been reunited in rather different roles for Flawless, an old-school heist thriller set in 1960 London.
Sporting a string of pearls this time around, rather than a bikini, Moore plays the sole female executive at the (fictional) London Diamond Company. She’s risen further up the corporate ladder than any other woman in the history of LonDi, but she’s now well and truly fed up with banging her head against the glass ceiling. Time and again, she’s found herself passed over for promotion in favour of less talented men.
You can understand, then, why she might be susceptible to a proposal from Caine’s crusty night cleaner (who has his own reasons to feel disgruntled at his treatment by LonDi) to steal a haul of diamonds from the company’s vault. Can the unlikely duo pull off their audacious heist?
Before we get to find out, director Michael Radford (maker of 1984, White Mischief and Il Postino) and screenwriter Edward Anderson (no, me neither) deliver the requisite twists, turns, and last-minute reversals. The action, though, is low-key and low-tech, even when the pair of would-be thieves re-jig their plans after LonDi installs security cameras on the eve of the robbery. Radford, it seems, has gone for a tempo and tone in keeping with the period setting – this is a London that is decidedly fusty; it may be 1960, but the sixties haven't started swinging.
Yet even though Flawless is a resolutely old-fashioned caper movie, it does make the odd gesture towards more up-to-date Hollywood concerns – such as the trade in blood diamonds (here from apartheid South Africa) and the treatment of women in the upper reaches of the City. Moore does a convincing job as the frustrated career woman, though her accent is all over the place (her character is an Oxford-educated Yank, which suggests that she was going to play a Brit and couldn’t quite pull it off), but it’s Caine’s old-timer who provides the acting sparkle. Flawless may not be a perfect gem, but thanks to Caine it’s definitely not paste.
Released 18th May.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.