ⓘ Flawless (1999 film)

Flawless (1999 film)

ⓘ Flawless (1999 film)

Flawless is a 1999 crime comedy-drama film directed and written by Joel Schumacher and starring Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Other cast members include Daphne Rubin-Vega and Wilson Jermaine Heredia.


1. Plot

Walter Koontz Robert De Niro is a highly decorated "local hero" officer of the New York police department who lives in a downtown apartment complex. Despite his locale and rampant run of drag queens in his building, he tends to keep to himself and still lives a life involved with lovely women, dancing and dining. One night, he hears gunshots upstairs, and while ascending to help suffers a stroke. He awakens with the right side of his body paralyzed resulting in poor speech and posture, and giving him an unrecoverable limp that requires him to use a cane to get around.

He suffers a massive blow to his ego, and Walter becomes ashamed to be seen in public in such a fashion. Rusty Philip Seymour Hoffman is one of Walters drag queen neighbors, and the two are at odds constantly due to their differing lifestyles. Rusty has a desire to undergo a sex reassignment surgery, but lacks the money to do so. When Walter comes to Rusty to use his musical talents for voice lessons to overcome his impediment, the pair, while at first argumentative and uncomfortable with each other, slowly become friends. Walter begins to gain confidence and make strides to return to a normal life. However, their friendship is marred when Rusty shows Walter a stash of money, hidden in the body of his dress making mannequin, which is enough to pay for his operation. When Walter inquires how Rusty got the money, Rusty says he stole it from a drug pusher, who was also responsible for the attack the night Walter had his stroke. Outraged by this, Walter and Rusty part ways angrily.

One night, after returning from a drag beauty contest called "Flawless", Rusty is accosted by the criminals who had crept into his apartment to find the stolen money. Walter hears the commotion and runs up to save Rustys life. Rusty locks himself in the bedroom, and when Walter comes in, the criminals turn their attention to him, prompting Rusty to return the favor. In the fight, Walter is shot by the criminals, but the pair are able to subdue them. While boarding an ambulance with Walter, Rusty gives the paramedics the stolen cash to ensure that Walter is okay. The pair again rekindle their friendship, setting their personal differences aside.


2. Cast

  • Victor Rasuk uncredited as Neighborhood boy
  • Chris Bauer as Jacko
  • Barry Miller as Leonard Wilcox
  • Jude Ciccolella as Detective Noonan
  • Robert De Niro as Walter Koontz
  • Daphne Rubin-Vega as Tia
  • Mina Bern as Mrs. Spivak
  • Richie Lamontagne as Carmine the Pizza Boy
  • Scott Allen Cooper as Ivana
  • Penny Balfour as Cristal
  • Wilson Jermaine Heredia as Cha-Cha
  • Luis Saguar as Mr. Z
  • Skipp Sudduth as Tommy
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman as Rusty
  • Rory Cochrane as Pogo

3. Soundtrack

  • "Half-Breed" – Cher Al Capps; Mary Dean
  • "When Will You Learn" – Boy George G. ODowd; John Themis; Mike Koglin
  • "Planet Love" – Taylor Dayne Allee Willis; Bruce Roberts
  • "Whenever You Fall" – Taylor Dayne Taylor Dayne; B.G. Craziose; Ernie Lake; Janice Robinson
  • "The Neighborhood" – Bruce Roberts; Gohl; Sarah McLachlan Bruce Roberts
  • "Sidewalk Talk" – John "Jellybean" Benitez Madonna
  • "When the Moneys Gone" – Bruce Roberts Bruce Roberts; Donna Weiss
  • "La Chica Marita" – Marcus Schenkenberg J. Beauvoir; T. Catania
  • "Tias Tango" – Bruce Roberts; Gohl; Sarah McLachlan Bruce Roberts
  • "Cant Stop Love" – Soul Solution Bobby Guy; Ernie Lake
  • "The Name Game" – Shirley Ellis Lincoln Chase; Shirley Ellis
  • "Give It to Me" – Drama Kidz Danny Sullivan; E. Holterhoff; Jellybean
  • "Turn Me Over" – Wonderbox Monica Murphy
  • "Lady Marmalade" – All Saints Bob Crewe; Kenny Nolan
  • "Luciano" – Bruce Roberts; Gohl; Sarah McLachlan Bruce Roberts
  • "Lady Marmalade" Live – Patti LaBelle Bob Crewe; Kenny Nolan
  • "G.A.Y." – Geri Halliwell Geri Halliwell; Watkins; Wilson


4. Production


Hoffman considered De Niro to be the most imposing actor that he had ever worked with, noting how De Niro had the ability during the shooting to "listen" to him as an actor, and in turn, make Hoffman respond similarly because of his unique style of acting. Hoffman felt that his exposure to that level of acting profoundly improved his own abilities as an actor.


5. Reception

Review-aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes reports a 43% approval rating based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10, and a consensus reading: "Uneven performances, formulaic."

Hoffman was praised by critics for his ability to avoid cliches in playing such a delicate role. Emily VanDerWerff praised the warmth of his portrayal of Rusty, commenting that "Hoffman’s work is quiet, moving, and humanistic, and it provides the film with a core Schumacher doesn’t remotely earn. No matter; this is another movie worth seeing almost entirely for the titanic work Hoffman does near its center." Roger Ebert highlighted Hoffman as "one of the best new character actors", remarking that he was "able to take a flamboyant role and find the quiet details in it".

Hoffman received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Lead Actor.