Starring: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau
Director: Stanley Donen
Running Time: 113 mins
Charade is an American film about a woman who becomes pursued by a group of men chasing a lost fortune that her late husband stole, and as she becomes more and more wrapped up in this case, she realises that she can’t trust anyone.
In the post-Dr. No euphoria, there were a whole lot of crazy spy thrillers flying around, however this was definitely one of the best ones. Encompassing brilliant comedy and an absolutely thrilling and unpredictable plot, along with typically stunning performances from Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, there’s little about this film that you can enjoy.
You could say that this film’s story is somewhat messy, and I would definitely agree with that, however that chaos within the plot makes it all the more exciting to watch. There’s a period in the movie where characters change sides and key plot lines change over and over again, and although it may seem silly, that farcical element makes it all the funnier to watch, as well as distracting you from the glaring twists that won’t be revealed until the end of the film, which makes it even more thrilling.
The comedy works brilliantly as well. Satirising James Bond, as well as everything that comes with it, you get an overload of completely over the top and idiotic comedy, that not only goes completely against the supposed seriousness of the situation, but goes even further and makes the whole thing an absolutely ridiculous showing of farce.
And although it may be a bit of a silly laugh, don’t think for a moment that the story’s going to let you down. As I said, the farce distracts you from a whole heap of plot twists throughout, and that really makes this one of the most turbulent and unpredictable thrillers I’ve actually seen, which is particularly impressive considering its comedic nature.
Finally, the brilliant performances. With probably the two greatest actors of the time, this film is superbly acted, with Cary Grant posing as both the voice of reason, as well as a mysterious enigma, while Audrey Hepburn does a great job of being the innocent damsel in distress in the midst of the situation, while also doing enough to find her own way through the drama and the mystery without the help of the men around her.
Overall, then, this gets an 8.2, because it’s a hugely enjoyable, brilliantly acted, well-written and amazingly unpredictable comedy thriller that would be a joy for anyone to watch.