This quick-moving thriller demonstrates that cinematic amorality has been around a long time. Made in 1973, it allows crop-duster and bank-robber, Charley Varrick, played by Walter Matthau, to get away with a heap of stolen money, the theft of which has led to the death of about half a dozen people, including his wife. The movie is directed, in his usual snappy but artful way, by Don Siegel, who taught Clint Eastwood everything Clint knows about direction, but not necessarily everything Don knew. The movie also demonstrates that in the days when movies spent less time on technical wizardry, they could spend more on character development. For example, on "Molly" (Joe Don Baker), a courteous but sadistic heavy from the deep South, who can beat a man to death without losing his cool or creasing his sharp suit. Other noteworthy character studies are Andy Robinson as Charley's sweaty, weasly accomplice; Sheree North as a two-timing photographer; John Vernon as Maynard Boyle, a suave but crooked bank owner; and Marjorie Bennett as a nosey trailer park resident. The plotline is supposed to be that Charley expects to get only a modest sum from the bank heist, and then has to get his thinking cap and skates on when he realises he's taken a pile of Mafia loot. But Siegel teases us, and it's never very clear just how much Charley knows and how far ahead he's thinking; perhaps there was an insider and Charley knew about the big money before the raid. Overall, can we believe what we're seeing, or is Siegel playing with us, like Bryan Singer in The Usual Suspects? Which leads to the third thing demonstrated by this and other Siegel movies - that current hotshots like Quintin Tarantino owe him a debt. (Incidentally, those IMDb commenters who are offended by Charley bedding Boyle's secretary (Felicia Farr) because she is too young for him should check Ms Farr's DOB. Also, she was married to Jack Lemmon, Matthau's friend and film-partner, so the bedroom scene is something of an in-joke.)
Action / Crime
Action / Crime
Charley Varrick and his friends rob a small town bank. Expecting a small sum to divide amongst themselves, they are surprised to discover a very LARGE amount of money. Quickly figuring out that the money belongs to the MOB, they must now come up with a plan to throw the MOB off their trail.
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