Sunday, August 29, 2010

#23. Charley Varrick (1973)

DVD Synopsis: Charley Varrick is a small-time crook who outfoxes the Mob in this fast-paced offbeat thriller directed by Don Siegel. Charley robs small banks with small payrolls. That keeps him out of trouble until he stumbles onto the Mob's secret stash. The chase is on as the Big Boys go after the "Last of the Independents." It's a heart-pounding ride that builds to a fiery airborne climax as Charley makes his last desperate run for the Mexican border and safety.

Director Don Siegel made some pretty awesome action films throughout his career, movies that starred such notable tough guys as Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen, and…Walter Matthau?!?
Charley Varrick proved to be a real surprise for me; one, because it’s such a breezy and entertaining movie, and two, because it stars a man whose mainly known as a film comedian. Matthau plays the title character, a crop-duster turned bank robber, and in the opening scene he’s given a chance to flex his action muscles by way of a very exciting bank robbery. To coincide with the action, the film also boasts an engaging game of cat-and-mouse, in which Matthau does everything he can to avoid the mob’s hired hit-man (played by the always enjoyable Joe Don Baker).
Charley Varrick has definitely piqued my curiosity. Going forward, I’ll have to make it a point to check out more of Matthau’s non-comedic films. If they’re half as entertaining as this one, I’ll be in for a treat.



Robert M. Lindsey said...

I recently watched Charlie Varrick and loved it! I was a little disturbed that his wife was willing to kill for what they thought was going to be only a couple thousand dollars, but Matthau plays Varrick wonderfully.

DVD Infatuation said...

Robert: Yeah, this is a mostly-undiscovered little gem. Matthau shines, and it was great to see him outside of his "comfort zone" (though he has done some dramatic work in the past, his comedy performances far outweigh them).

Unknown said...

I'm glad you reviewed this. It's always been one of my favorite crime flicks. I'd recommend another Matthau crime film in The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. And, of course, Matthau isn't humorous in Charade.

James Robert Smith said...

This is a great movie! And it's one I'd never even heard of until I accidentally stumbled upon it one day while bored and surfing the TV stations looking for a film to watch. People have forgotten that Matthau could turn in a truly impressive performance (because, I think, he trended toward pop comedy roles).