“Charade” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 10
“I already know an awful lot of people, so until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.”
There’s a lot to enjoy about Charade. The mystery, the setting in France, and the characters are all well-realized.
This was my first time seeing an Audrey Hepburn movie. After hearing and reading about her, I was definitely curious about her. She’s certainly got a doe-eyed, spunky personality – and she’s compelling. I just wish the dialogue allowed her to be a little more “real” and less goofy. Same goes for Grant – he was too sly and charming to be considered a real person, and it pulls me out a lot.
It’s too evident that these actors are reading scripts. They say things real people would never be quick-witted enough to say. It’s very much like an Aaron Sorkin style of rapid-fire snark back and forth between Grant and Hepburn.
The only recent film I think of that does this style of dialogue well is His Girl Friday. It makes sense contextually in that film since they are fast-on-their-feet news reporters, whereas here it comes across as forced. I also don’t really think there was as much chemistry between them as there could have been. Grant certainly had more chemistry with Rosalind Russell than he did with Hepburn.
The three “goons” out to get Hepburn were my favorite part of the film. They made the movie for me.
I still overall enjoyed the picture. It was thoughtfully shot and lit, and it had an enjoyable and intriguing story. It works, and it’s entertaining. If the dialogue was a bit less artificial, it might have worked even better.
Charade was at the time of this review at #63 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #150 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Charade vs. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Chamber of Secrets is right in the middle of my Potter rankings. I like most of the movie, but the Dobby character disappoints – both in execution and technology. CG was not quite there when the film released, and it shows now. Charade wins.
Charade vs. A Beautiful Mind
I like Beautiful Mind, but I can see its issues – mainly that it’s a bit one-note. The emotional component doesn’t reach what it could have. Charade will take the match.
Charade vs. So I Married an Axe Murderer
Quirky, original, and unique. One of my favorites. Axe wins.
Charade vs. The Avengers
I have to still give Avengers its kudos for being the movie that “could have been a disaster, but isn’t”. It’s a triumph. It wins this matchup.
Charade vs. Apocalypto
Apocalypto was added earlier in this challenge, and still resonates in my mind. It’s a really incredible film, and it will beat Charade.
Charade vs. Mallrats
I was such a huge fan of Clerks that I couldn’t wait to see what Mallrats was like. The movie is very different, but still retains a lot of Kevin Smith’s style and ability to portray slackers so well. Jason Lee is so good in this movie. Mallrats wins.
Charade vs. Life of Pi
I couldn’t believe how gorgeous Life of Pi was seeing it in 3D in theaters. A definite achievement in every way – especially effects. Definitely wins the match.
Charade vs. Independence Day
I’ll always have a soft spot for ID4. It’s alien invasion + end of the world + huge disasters + Will Smith becoming an action star. It’s got Goldblum, and Pullman, and so many cool designs… It’s awesome, and it wins the battle here, absolutely.
Charade vs. Saw
It should always get the credit it deserves. A stupefying twist ending that you can’t believe is hard to come by – and it still works even on multiple viewings. Totally wins.
Charade vs. Whiplash
There’s a lot I personally take into a film like Whiplash because I am a drummer, and I have played in jazz bands, and I have had to practice long hours, and I have had teachers that bore down on me… It’s also superbly shot, skillfully acted, and affirms a thought-provoking question: What must greatness endure to achieve success? Whiplash beats Charade.
Charade is now ranked #347 out of 1384 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Next is Paris, Texas and When Harry Met Sally. Check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.