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FLAWLESS

SYNOPSIS:
Retired security guard Walter Koontz (Robert De Niro), the hero of a long-ago hostage crisis, now lives in a run-down hotel. After suffering a stroke which deprives him of the power of speech, Walter withdraws from his friends and contemplates suicide. When voice therapy rehabilitation is suggested the bigoted Walter approaches his neighbour, Rusty Zimmerman (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a drag queen, for singing lessons. Though apparently with nothing in common the two men gradually learn to respect each other as Walter's therapy progresses.

"Without the presence of Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman the ironically titled Flawless might have been the most wretched piece of slop to have hit the screen this year. Even with these two excellent actors it's the kind of turgid journey which gives political correctness a bad name. You can see what writer/director Joel Schumacher is attempting to say in this odd-couple story but the whole affair is far too labored and far too "right-on" in its expression of liberal attitudes toward gay and transvestite characters. De Niro, no doubt attracted by the acting challenge at hand, is technically outstanding as the man whose rotten life just got worse and manages to convey emotional turmoil through slurred speech and lurching gait. Hoffman is bubbly with bad dialogue as the drag queen who comes across like the birthday party guest who never made it to the 1970 film version of Mart Crowley's The Boys In The Band. This is a fable but even with dramatic license it's hard to swallow the kind of co-incidences and sub-plots which Schumacher writes in. Why do Hoffman's wacky drag-buddies always turn up at just the right moment and what are those drug dealers doing there? It's hard to buy much of what happens in Flawless. Without De Niro and Hoffman it'd be deadly; with them it's barely watchable through the cringes."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

FLAWLESS (MA)
(US)

CAST: Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Miller, Christopher Bauer, Skipp Sudduth

PRODUCERS: Joel Schumacher, Jane Rosenthal

DIRECTOR: Joel Schumacher

SCRIPT: Joel Schumacher

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Declan Quinn

EDITOR: Mark Stevens

MUSIC: Bruce Roberts

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jan Roelfs

RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 16, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Ent

VIDEP RELEASE: June 6, 2001







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