Dog Day Afternoon Reviews
Part of the intent of the film was to display how people change when they are in the spotlight. Sonny turns into a raving "hero" demanding outlandish requests in exchange for the hostages and performing for the people in the streets. The pizza man dances for the crowd and the head teller refuses to leave her girls because her and the others are getting so much attention. It's interesting to see them transform. I also thought it was fascinating how it pushed such liberal themes in a time period that largely rejected them, with some of the major characters being gay and transgender people.
Al Pacino's character is dynamic and we slowly learn about him as the robbery progresses. First that he has a wife, then that he has a gay lover, then that he's married to both and his mistress needs a sex change and that he has a troubled relationship with his mother. His motives for the robbery give insight into who he was and what his priorities are. Aesthetically, the film is poor. It's set in a boring, blank bank with sweaty, stressed out characters.
The film's central issue is that is largely a tiring bore. It is tense at the beginning, but 30 minutes in the tension has broken and it's exhausting to watch Pacino and the cops constantly go back and forth. As a bank robbery, it is really dry. It consistently brings new characters into the story, such as his lover, his wife, his mother to further develop him. The conclusion was also pretty satisfying. I get why Dog Day Afternoon is relevant because of its themes and unique central character, but I can only take so much of Al Pacino pacing around sweating, yelling constantly.
Framed by great work from director Sidney Lumet and fueled by a gripping performance from Al Pacino, Dog Day Afternoon offers a finely detailed snapshot of people in crisis with tension-soaked drama shaded in black humor. As much as it is about a deeply troubled individual, "Dog Day Afternoon" is about a shift toward exploitation in the American media via live television.
Strong performances and forward-thinking situations make this political thriller an exceptionally vibrant film experience.
"Kiss me. When I'm being f**ked, I like to get kissed a lot."
Dog Day Afternoon is a fantastic 'bank robbery gone wrong' movie, but becomes so much more than that.
I've been planning on watching this movie for awhile, but failed each time. Now it makes me appreciate my patience after finally checking it out at LIFF (Leeds International Film Festival). Seeing this on a big screen rather than a small one made the experience even more special.
The run time of two hours and 30 minutes, which is crazy because none of it dragged. I loved every minute of it. I was surprised how comedic it is, as I originally expected it to be a crime drama. It's hilarious seeing the hostages who were scared at first, but eventually got so comfortable around the robbers, they toy with their semi-auto rimfire rifles. Even ordering pizza and sodas, and Sonny (Pacino) pays for it with bank money.
Al Pacino is one of the all time greats. His voice, facial tics, walk, hunch, accent, etc. There's so much to pick up on his performance. He's better than sex. John Cazale is a national treasure and left us way too soon. The chemistry between Sonny and Sal is dynamic. Sidney Lumet directing captives the entire event and makes it absolutely gripping, especially the climax which had me on edge.
Pacino is fire. Cazale is holy. Sidney is god.
- Chicago Sun-Times
Dog Day Afternoon
The sense of urgency fades away for a brief period of time in its middle act and that's the only weak link in this masterpiece that contains gripping screenplay, brilliant execution and stellar performance working all the way up to the ladder. Sidney Lumet still needs to be a bit strict on editing part but other than that he has done a great job from his side. Al Pacino is as usual, brilliant on portraying this broken real persona and brings out the best of him without any support (he literally is a one man show in this one). Dog Day Afternoon hits hard and fast with amusing perspective that stays true till the last frame along with an intense showdown between the cat and mouse sequences in its last act that always will be the highlight of this feature.
We first get a glimpse of how amateurish these criminals are when one of the three bails early on in the robbery, which is a comical moment. We also smile at Pacino's handling of the situation. He realizes the importance of the hostages he suddenly finds himself holding, but far from being heavy-handed, he tries to be decent with them. He whips the crowd up into an anti-establishment frenzy by shouting "Attica!", throwing wads of money into the air, and paying for pizza delivery. He gets into a shouting match with a police sergeant (Charles Durning). He talks to his wife, mother, and transgender lover (Chris Sarandon), and each conversation is touched with pathos, and fantastic. To his mother he says "I'm a fuck-up and I'm an outcast. If you get near me you're gonna get it. You're gonna get fucked over and fucked out." It's the outcast underdog that we find ourselves rooting for.
I love the simple acceptance of his sexuality, which is incidental and doesn't devolve into some type of stereotype - well ahead of its time. Director Sidney Lumet shows the seamy side of New York, but at the same time, its humanity. The characters are blunt, but understanding of one another when they simply say what they want. The relationships in this tense stand-off are fascinating.
I also liked how Lumet gets us into the story immediately. We learn the backstories and characters of the criminals, including Pacino's henchman (John Cazale) gradually, and in little moments, such as finding out he fears their escape plan because he's never been on an airplane before. The film works as both a hostage drama and as a character study. It may be a teeny bit too long at 125 minutes, but has held up well over the years, and is definitely worth watching.