Flawless (1999) Review

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Walter Koontz was an officer with the New York police department and struggled to get along with his drag queen neighbours in his building. That would all change when one night he attempts to help them after hearing a gun shot and has a stroke which leaves him paralysed down one side of his body.

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After the incident Rusty ends up having singing lessons with Walter in an attempt to help his speech improve. Something that is a very tough and difficult thing for them both. Walter has been very homophobic towards Rusty and the others, they were often arguing due to the very different lifestyles they both had. But in the face of this they would actually go on to become the person they both really needed.

The plot is a little bit all over the place and not really very strong other than the change in attitudes from Walter and Rusty, learning to understand one another and really grow from that. But the rest of it with the criminals involvement and the money that had been found, pushes it into some strange area really. Which is actually quite hard to explain. Some of the lines were amusing as well, but I don’t know if 21 years later those are now seen as bad taste? Well, I had a small chuckle anyway a few times inappropriate or not. Sometimes those are the funnier ones right?

Without a doubt the impressive thing in the film are the performances from Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robert De Niro. Both obviously very different and impressive in their very own way. Hoffman becoming Rusty and playing the part of not only a drag queen as we are told in the film but a character who wanted to go through secs reassignment surgery, so it was a bit deeper than you may actually expect. I thought he was marvellous in the role and really highlights in the incredible range he had as an actor. De Niro then having to play a character who had a stroke and that meant the speech and having to scrunch his face to be able to talk like that. As well as slumping one side of his body when trying to move around. I feel its a little bit of a shame that they weren’t given more to work with in terms of the quality of the script. As beyond the scenes together it was a little lack lustre. Something I did notice with the supporting cast was Wilson Jermaine Heredia who I recognised from Rent (the film) but he was also in the original Broadway cast in the role of Angel. So seeing him in another film was nice.

A film which did try very hard to be that little bit different and address different issues and in a couple of ways worked ok but in others failed to hit the mark. This really is about the two lead performances which are fantastic nothing at all can be said against that fact.

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