IMDb Top 250: #249 Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet
Writers: Frank Pierson (screenplay), P.F. Kluge (based upon a magazine article by)
Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen

A man robs a bank to pay for his lover’s operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus.

***

 

Dog Day Afternoon or how to screw up your life by making a bad decision and then not managing to do anything to make it right. Something like that.

There’s not much to say. Pacino plays the role of a haunted (hunted) man, what he’s always been terrific at actually. The first few minutes you get the idea: they’re going to screw this robbery up big time, probably someone’s going to get killed. It’s inevitable. They are desperate to the point of making mistakes that no man would do. This is human, in a way.

Bank robberies are usually depicted in movies as being the undertaking of serious professionals: the kind of guys who could occupy a medium sized nation with ease. In real life, it’s not always the case.

This movie is okay. What is okay in my book? Just enough to waste some time.

Radu’s review:

I’ve never been a fan of bank heists movies. Not the traditional ones at least. I prefer a charming con artist coming out of a bank with his account full of money and a smile on his face. Maybe even with a pat on the back from the local police officer.

The story of this movie is anything but charming. Three guys, who can barely hold it together, try to rob a bank. One of them actually cracks in the beginning and he runs as fast as he can from the scene. The others try to act calm and pretend to know what they’re doing, when in fact they are way out of their league.

All the cast is flawless, but Al Pacino delivers in great style. Not the sort of eye catching performance from The Godfather, Scarface or Scent of a Woman. He is a man fighting with some inner demons who tries to help his loved ones in the most unorthodox manner. In the end he only manages to bring them more pain and shame.

It is said that “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” And all it brings in the end is misery. I’m guessing this is how Sonny must have felt when the credits rolled in the film.

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