Walter Matthau on the paper might have been a wrong choice but he proved his detractors wrong by his understated performance. (Donald Sutherland was the first choice, but the producers wanted an Easter friendly audience, so he was dropped). Don Siegel directed this film just after ‘Dirty Harry’ and the excellence of efficiency continues. Right from the word go, he weaves a thriller of different sorts, never losing the human touch. ‘Charley Varrick’ is a worth revisit anytime, and over the years has aged like good wine.
Lalo Schifrin’s haunting score adds the gravitas to the proceedings. When asked in the making feature, he mentions he went in for the percussion based instrument, to represent Charley Varrick’s mind that was always ticking and thinking about the next move, yet no one knew exactly what. Incidentally, Walter Matthau played it the same way, as he man who kept his emotions and enemies in check, always thinking ahead.
The climax chase is one of its kind, which once again would seem far fetched on paper, but when shot the way Don Siegel did, is believable in its every frame.
Here’s a good video about the film.