“Dog Day Afternoon”
5 Stars (and now on blu ray)
I just finished watching “Dog Day Afternoon” again and it seems that every time I watch it, it just gets better and better. It is a film that will change your opinion of the bank robbery genre of film and with its homosexual theme it was way ahead of its time (made in 1975). It really captures the spirit of the 1970’s and shows why Al Pacino is a great actor. Here is Pacino the actor and Pacino the character.
“Dog Day Afternoon” is based on a true story—an actual event. Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, a Brooklyn man who takes a bank hostage in order to pay for his “wife’s” sex-change operation. Leon Shermer (played by Chris Sarradon) is Sonny’s gay lover who needs the money to become a woman. When Sonny gets trapped inside the bank, he shows up all over the media and the police are waiting outside with guns drawn. Sonny’s partner in crime, Sal (John Cazale) is worried that the media will also consider him to be a homosexual and the way he expresses his concern is great comic relief.
The movie, however, belongs to Al Pacino. He is manic and energetic and gives a performance of a lifetime. One of the best scenes in the film is when Sonny speaks to his “wife” on the phone and not giving away what he is talking about to the audience. Pacino takes on his character like a pair of tight-fitting jeans. Pacino breathes life into the character and his performance is a real tour de force.
It seems to me that Hollywood was trying to change our culture about homosexuality and sex-change operations and introduce us to gay characters. Hollywood gives us a true story which, regardless of homosexuality, is a good movie.
There are other great performances here s\as well. John Cazale is excellent and Charles During as police lieutenant Moretti is amazing as he works hard to keep the situation under control.
Here is a high-tension drama and thriller that captures the true events of that summer afternoon in Brooklyn. Sidney Lumet’s is his usual good director and the movie moves swiftly under his management. The character study is unique and wonderful and the movie is brilliant in every way. This is Hollywood at its finest and a movie that is a pleasure to watch. Here is one that you do not want to miss.