Enjoyable and even exciting at the start, Dog Day Afternoon degenerates into frustration and tedium toward nightfall -- an experience no less painful for the audience than for the actors.
One of Sidney Lumet's best jobs of directing and one of Al Pacino's best performances (as a bisexual bank robber) come together in a populist thriller with lots of New York juice
[Pacino] gives an electric performance, charged with a lunatic energy that expertly captures the weird blend of confidence and self-deprecation (if not hatred) that marks the paranoid syndrome.
Dog Day Afternoon is, in the whole as well as the parts, filmmaking at its best.
The film's strength lies in its depiction of surfaces, lacking the visual or intellectual imagination to go beyond its shrewd social and psychological observations and its moments of absurdist humour.
It's beautifully acted by performers who appear to have grown up on the city's sidewalks in the heat and hopelessness of an endless midsummer.
Lumet is exploring the clichés, not just using them.
| Original Score: 3.5/4