No Country for Old Men is essentially a loose remake of this late-period Don Siegel film. However, as much as I have an affinity for 70s cinema, the Coen film improved on this, if slightly. Charley Varrick has a stunning opening 20 minutes, yet the rest doesn't fulfill that promise in character/tension/suspense, and like the 2007 film, it has a largely bland narrative, but feels even more passive in its telling.
The suspense plays better than most "twisty" movies, which isn't saying much, but hey! Very retrograde w/r/t race & gender. Lots of cringe moments. Most compelling is the strange morality. Film is populated by killers, liars, snitches, backstabbers, greedy motherfuckers, and scumbags. Nobody is morally correct. A man's worth is based solely on his ability to outwit other men. A bleak but resonant vision of society.
A forgotten 70s gem/borderline noir revival but filtered through a Butch Cassidy/French Connection style attitude. Matthau is excellent, known more for his comedy but holds his own here. Entered the film not knowing what to expect, left impressed by the direction and plot twists. The 70s really were the last great decade of American cinema, quickly ruined by Star Wars sfx and general dumbing down of storytelling.
CINEMA _ Beyond the surface, "Charley Varrick" is not the fascist film it pretends to be. Look at those first credits. A peaceful and perfect world, full of (God's) light and children playing. And right after an ugly bank robbery. Siegel always plays on a thin line and shows that America is BOTH innocence and pure violence/corruption. The Mob guy pushing the kid on the swing. True independant film making.
A cracking thriller of double-cross, mistaken identity, honour, greed and the gangster code. Massively underrated, this film has undoubtably been a major influence on many prominent filmmakers for productions of a similar style, scale and aesthetic. Tarantino, Soderbergh, and P.T. Anderson spring to mind. A brash, raw, lean and brilliantly crafted movie.
3 1/2 out of 5 stars. As good as Charley Varrick was from a technical or filmmaking standpoint, I ultimately credit Walter Matthau with how much I liked this movie. I've only seen it once but I have a feeling its the kind of movie that gets better and better with each viewing.
Love it, lover everything about it. A really well told heist and fallout story. Matthau is his usual awesomeness and Joe Don Baker basically plays Bardem from "No Country" except he's Joe Don Baker. What the hell are you still reading this for? Go watch the damn movie!
A purely masculin movie as only Siegel and a bunch of other directors would be capable of (Hawks, Fuller, Peckinpah, Hill, Carpenter, Mann), its shots are given meaning by the relation of the bodies in its interior: therefore a constant tension is achieved, created merely by the ocupation of the space by Siegel's characters. It's a shame the movie is ruined by its insistence on comic relief and overdramatic acting.