Why do you want to steal from the company?
Who said I did?
War and plunder, the two most reliable sources of income.
Laura Quinn and Mr. Hobbs
Flawless, the 2007 version, is a film directed by Michael Radford and written by Edward Anderson. It is a heist movie, of which genre I am an unabashed fan, albeit not connoisseur. In the tradition of all good heist movies (as opposed to caper movies) there is a goal, a target, a plan, a conspiracy, a sleuth, and then the moment where it all goes pear-shaped.
The plot, of both kinds
Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) is a driven, smart, ambitious woman. She's an American living in England in the 1960s, having been educated at Oxford and impressed her schoolmates. She works for the London Diamond Exchange, a ruthless multinational cartel which controls the flow of diamonds through the world markets and works tirelessly to maintain their premium prices. Based, as far as I can tell, on various entities including De Beers and the London Diamond Bourse & Club, this fictional(?) entity has one enormous problem as an employer - it's a ruthless old boy's club. As Ms. Quinn (38 years of age and still unmarried) reminds herself in a memo to herself very early in the movie, it contains 1,223 subsidiaries around the world, and zero female directors of said subsidiaries.
She has been passed over for promotion many times when the film starts. She is approached by Mr. Hobbs (Michael Caine), the kindly janitor who maintains the premises and has for years, with a startling bit of news about her career - and then with a startling proposal. Live the life she deserves on the company, by helping him abscond with a thermos-full of diamonds - a pittance the company might never notice, given the mounds and tons of them in the central vault.
She doesn't want to do it. But then again, maybe she does.
The heist is carried off, despite several last-minute hitches, by the middle of the film, if not slightly earlier. There are the expected tense moments, but all is well. Eventually, Ms. Quinn is called into the vault to join the senior directors.
And that's when things start to go quite, quite wrong for her.
I won't give you more than that. There's a twist, a pursuit (if not a chase), and a big reveal. Demi Moore really cannot act at all, which is all right as she's quite good at being stylishly decorative, but Mr. Caine is his lovable self. Lambert Wilson does an admirable job as the insurance agent set to solve the crime, and there is the expected cast of elder ruffians including the delightfully evil Joss Ackland and a man I recognized immediately by his lips - Derren Nesbitt of Where Eagles Dare and The Prisoner fame (if you've seen those two, you'll know who I mean immediately).
It's a workaday heist movie. I hadn't expected the twist, and while I did end up guessing the basic parameters of the ending, the particulars were more fun to just let come. It's not a great heist movie, though - it does a bit too much behind-the-scenes trickery that's revealed later (which is how The Illusionist ruined itself. Rule one of a thriller or heist movie: don't save *too much* for the 'how they did it' sequence) but it still comes off all right. The 1960s is carried off well in a cloud of cigarette smoke, awful fake wood paneling and some nice Triumphs on the streets.
Really, this is worth a Netflix rental, or maybe even a streaming video rental on demand. Luckily for us, that's where it's now available. You won't come out the other end thinking you've seen something memorable, but you will come out the other end having been pleasantly diverted for a couple of hours.
Laura Quinn: Demi Moore
Mr. Hobbs: Michael Caine
Mr. Finch: Lambert Wilson
Sir Milton Kendrick Ashtoncroft: Joss Ackland
Sir Clifton Sinclair: Derren Nesbitt