Veteran small time crook Charley Varrick and his gang rob a small bank in the south west. Expecting modest takings, Charley is shocked to discover that the haul is $750,000. The catch is that the money belongs to the Mafia, who are soon on the trail of the robbers. Charley must devise a scheme to escape with his life, and hopefully the money as well.
This is a very pleasing piece of work all round. Directed with customery efficiency and style by Don Siegel, it twists and turns, always keeping you interested. Its helped by good casting. The ever watchable Walter Matthau effortlessly slips into the role of Varrick, Joe Don Baker is quite chilling as the ruthless hitman with impeccable manners and John Vernon extracts some sympathy as the Banker/Mafia man trying to smooth everything over. Add some pleasant locations and an intelligent script and the result is a very satisfying, if different '70s crime thriller.
As I watched this again last night on BBC1, I remembered that on its previous screening it was preceeded by an introduction by Mark Kermode. In it he commented on the fact that Matthau hated the film. After a second viewing I still can't imagine why.