dog day afternoon

March 19, 2008

just recently, upon finishing sidney lumet’s great book making movies, did i begin to delve into the director’s oeuvre. i started with 12 angry men and followed it up shortly thereafter with network. i absolutely loved both of those films, particularly the former, so i was very anxious to watch dog day afternoon.

the film begins with a brief montage of images of new york city, which proves, by the film’s end, to be almost our only glimpse at the broader setting of the picture. it’s a perfect set-up, and, just moments later, we are sucked right into the robbery. this, along with the other two lumet films i have seen, is enough proof of his refusal to waste time at the beginning of his films. no motivations are yet understood, but it was so refreshing to not be dragged through scene after scene of exposition before finally getting to the heist.

al pacino is very good.

for the first hour, i was completely consumed by the film. however, when we finally learn why sonny is robbing the bank (even though i was familiar with the true story before beginning the film), the whole film lost a ton of momentum for me. the issue that arises is: can i blame the film when it is simply sticking to the true story on which it is based? well, i’m afraid i have to. the main problem is that lumet and screenwriter frank pierson relegate the sexual motivations of sonny to a diversion. only one quarter of the film directly deals with the love triangle of sonny, leon, and angie, and that just wasn’t enough for me to buy such a complex relationship.

still, i’m a sucker for heist films, so i really did enjoy the majority of the picture. lumet just doesn’t quite pull off all the intricacies of the story.


One Response to “dog day afternoon”

  1. Holden Caulfield Says:

    I loved Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men. What’s Network about any good?

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