TBTo the Screen

"Flawless" (1999):

“I’m a singer. Um, I’m a female expressionist. I’m a artist.”-Rusty

“Flawless” deviates in the story not relating to the title. Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays Rusty, a pre-op drag queen who lives in the same run down New York building as Robert De Niro who plays Walt Koontz, a homophobic cop who suffers a stroke and loses his vocal ability. Guess who Walt reluctantly looks to in order to regain his vocal ability? Ding ding ding, Rusty.

As the story progressed, the dynamic between Rusty and Walt didn’t. Walt used all his strength to say his derogatory epithets to Rusty. Rusty demeaned Walt’s manhood. They came back to each other in a meaningful comfort of divulging their roots to each other. These characters were clearly not flawless but their connection makes them human.

Drag queens are some of the funniest people, relating to the fact that funny comes from pain.

This is the role for Phillip Seymour Hoffman to have when he was developing as an actor. He manifested himself as a comedic and dramatic actor for a strong character. Robert De Niro served as producer although uncredited. Mark Margolis and Daphne Rubin-Vega had supporting roles. Chris Bauer terribly plays a Russian gangster who is “partnered” with a non-threatening black man to get money owed to their boss for a story line that was not even necessary for the film. The story should have just been about Rusty and Walt. At the very least the “gangsterism” is entertaining. What would have become of this film if Robert and Phillip were the leads?