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Thursday, March 27, 2014

269 of 1001 Movies: Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

I was trying to place where else I had seen Sidney Lumet's name as director, and then it hit me, he directed 12 Angry Men, which was his directorial debut. He would continue on with his movies that not only took a look at the wrong side of crime, but also gave us characters and twist that we couldn't help but be compelled by. This story though is based on the real life robbery that took place in the 70's, and it has to be one of the most bizarre and interesting piece of true events to see in a movie.

Summary: Sonny and Sal are out to rob a bank, but as soon as they get there it's obvious things aren't going to go right as soon as one of their accomplices bail on them in the middle of the robbery. Now Sonny and Sal are left to do it on their own, but when they draw attention to themselves the hype quickly grows from something they planned to be over in ten minutes to lasting twelve hours. With the police surrounding the place and the media airing it everywhere Sonny and Sal believe their only way to freedom are their hostages.


Acting: Al Pacino is the lead as Sonny. He actually looks like the guy he is portraying as well, and had he not gotten the role it was being considered to go to Dustin Hoffman. Pacino really brings his all to this though, and he even gives the guy a bit of a humorous Hoffman to the role. For a guy who was just coming off acting as one of the toughest guys in the Godfather movies, he picks up more of a bizarre and mentally out there guy in Sonny. John Cazale will also be recognizable as a face in The Godfather, but these two show that just because you've acted together as a notable figure in another movie doesn't mean you can make us forget who were in another movie. These two guys reinvent their relationship from those movies to work a lot differently in this one. There are many others in the cast like the hostages, and I feel that everyone is really good in the movie, but there is no one really worth mentioning like Pacino and Cazale who make this whole movie intense, and even make us feel for them.

Filming: The movie doesn't have anything I can particularly note that seems to hav Sidney Lumet written on it besides the actual story. Lumet does seem to have an interest in analyzing crime, and also bringing more of the minorities to the screen. This movie probably features one of the earliest gay characters on screen. The movie is intense though, and I like how Lumet always keeps the movie rolling. There is never a moment where I feel the movement just stops, and keeping everything constantly moving makes it have more intensity as we feel the frantic thinking of Sonny growing.

Plot: The fact the movie is based on a true story makes it more compelling, and Lumet gives it the proper run time to cover it all. From the moment the story kicks off we are in the bank, and that is the way it should be. From there we get to know the characters, what drove them there, who the people in their lives are, and why the crowd seems to love Sonny so much. Now don't get me wrong I'm sure there have been changes, but for the most part everything major seems to be the same, because there was no way to change it because it was already so captivating and weird.

Dog Day Afternoon is a gem from the 70's. Actually, the 70's seems to offer the strongest of film making thus far, then again it is when a lot of film was revolutionized to be in the more modern way we know it by certain directors. Sidney Lumet shows that his way of storytelling is just as good then as it was when he started in the 50's.

Rating 9 of 10.'


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