Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but the jewelry business is very much a man’s world, as evidence by Michael Radford’s Flawless. Demi Moore adopts a wobbly Brit accent to play Laura Quinn, an American executive working for the London Diamond Corporation. Writer Edward Anderson uses the weak conceit of an interview with modern-day, aged Laura (Moore bathed in old-age makeup) to flash back to the 1960s, when custodian Hobbs (Michael Caine) convinces the eternally overlooked Laura to help him lift some diamonds out of the company vault.
But Anderson, too, is to be commended for creating a story that embraces the clichés of the heist genre — the will-they-make-it tension, the poker-faced guilty, the illuminating twists — rather than trying to skirt them. Sure, Hobbs coaxes Laura into the gig too easily, but Anderson provides plenty of crisp dialogue and both Richard Greatrex’s cinematography and Dinah Collin’s superb costumes beautifully evoke the starchiness of the period. Radford makes us understand the lengths to which the disenfranchised feel compelled to go.
I must also say four words I never thought I would: Demi Moore is good. Not great, mind you (the film tries to explain that hide-and-seek accent by describing as an Oxford student who stayed in England), but she gets Laura’s steely reserve, born from repeated encounters with the glass ceiling. She is at her best when Laura is flustered or nervous, and holds her own well against the reliably marvelous Caine, whose character has an agenda of his own in this kinder, gentler heist flick.
Opens March 28