Charley Varrick is a sometimes-fuzzy melodrama but so well put together that it emerges a hardhitting actioner with a sock finale.
Based on the John Reese novel, The Looters, narrative carries the unusual twist of Walter Matthau, a small-time bank robber, trying to return his heist of a smalltown New Mexico bank aftr later discovering his $750,000 take belongs to the Mafia and he wants none of it. He is opposed by a young companion who doesn’t see eye-to-eye, and menaced by a Mafia hit-man who arrives on the scene.
Director Don Siegel overcomes deficiencies in part by his rugged handling of action and making handsome use of the Nevada landscape where pic was filmed and which provided stuntmen with a field day.
Matthau delivers strongly as a man who wants to limit his heisting to small banks because legal heat isn’t so hot. Joe Don Baker scores solidly as Mafia man.