Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fabienne my love, our adventure begins...

Charley Varrick (1973)
directed by Don Siegel
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

Don - dean of the underdog - leaves the last honest cop in San Francisco for the last honest crook in Tres Cruces, New Mexico. I'd be willing to believe that it's Walter Matthau's best role (hands in his pockets and no trace of sarcasm) if I could shake the impression that most people only really love him for Grumpy Old Men. For all Siegel's realism - the cops suspect the bank robbers right off the bat, no one has much trouble chasing down the cash - only Matthau's ungainly, hilarious embrace of forever doomed Dean Wormer is unguarded enough to admit to the contrivances that get both men to movie's end. Something about these sap-as-hero revenge fantasies (Mr. Majestyk, The Silent Partner, Dirty Harry) leaves me cold every time.

Maybe the best thing Quentin Tarantino ever did was take women out of the sex rut and leave just enough room in their march to the top of the body count to be women: sweet (Fabienne), gentle (Jackie), in love (Beatrix). Every new-to-me cult classic only makes me admire him more.