Dog Day Afternoon - A Movie From The Golden Age of American Cinema

                            Some days, everything goes wrong. Sonny Wortzik had one of those day in the August of 1972. The preface to this 1975 movie says, "What you are about to see is true--- It happened in Brooklyn, New York on August 22, 1972." It follows the incidents of a bank robbery in basic outline if not in detail. Dog Day Afternoon is an unabashed classic, a template by which other movies are based and a formula which is periodically tweaked and refined. The movie was directed by the great Sidney Lumet and starred by Al Pacino, who was at his passionate best.

       Sonny(Al Pacino) and pal Sal (John Cazale, best known as Fredo from The Godfather) hop into a New York bank branch and intend to abscond with their catch, quick. But things immediately go wrong. Their third crew member can't take it and abandons the heist. And while Sonny effectively keeps everyone away from the alarms and from giving him the fake money (he worked in a bank for awhile), he can't keep the guy across the street from calling the cops, who are outside the bank before Sonny can make his getaway.

                        What follows is a fairly standard negotation, followed by a media circus. And it's here where Dog Day Afternoon turns into something unexpected. Because of the media, Sonny, who is a vietnam war veteran becomes a instant celebrity and a working-class hero. Do you know why Sonny Wortzik  needed all that cash?, that i won't reveal it here. But, I could say it would be one of the bizarre reason. And the movie, retains the real-life ending.

             Director Sidney Lumet, handles the material sensitively but without pulling any punches. At no time do you feel like any sequence or performance is overdone. Although many of his contemporaries would have used oblique camera angles and quick, brazen edits to convey tension and balance, Lumet often plants his camera and allows the actors to convey the complexities of the narrative. And apart from the opening titles, Lumet uses no music, adding to the realistic feel.

                     The cast is small but couldn't be bettered. Al Pacino is one of my favorite actors, even though his performance in the last decade has been so excessive. But here as Sonny, Pacino delivers one of his best performance, filled with intensity, sadness, and excellent comedic timing(as seen in his fumbling attempt at pulling his rifle out of a box, or his hilarious reaction when he finds out there is no money in the vault). One should praise Pacino for his guts to take up this role. Not only he did the role of bank-robber, but also a brave role, which you would understand after watching the movie.  

                      Johnny Cazale as Sal plays his role with a suicidal intensity. He is afraid of everything except his ability to kill. Pacino and Cazale play wonderfully off one another. Had Cazale not have succumbed to cancer, he and Pacino could have been one of the better double acts if their work from this film and 'The Godfather part II' was anything to go by. Frank pierson's screenplay is perfect, and is full of many memorable quotes, the majority delivered by Al Pacino.  Pierson won the Oscar for "Best Screenplay."

                     As much as it is about a deeply troubled individual, "Dog Day Afternoon(1975)" is also about a shift toward exploitation in the America media through live television. The bloodthirsty media, with its pernicious influences wishes for men like Sonny, to make a incredible story. Dog Day Afternoon is more than a heist or a crime movie. It's a gripping picture of a city close to meltdown. It is gripping throughout, and it will have you smiling quite a lot, too. Be aware, however, that it is rated R for profanity and plenty of it.


Dog Day Afternoon - Imdb 


magiceye said...

was my fav!

vinay said...

Epic. :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for this information
surely watch it soon
al pachino ki ye movie miss kaise ho gai

neeraj said...

I always loved Pacino and heh I think I always loved the name 'Sonny' (courtesy 'The Godfather'). Will see it soon.

Arun Kumar said...

@magiceye, Thanks for your comment.

Thank you for visiting Vinay.

Arun Kumar said...

@Chirag, Thanks for your comment. watch it for Al pacino.

@Neeraj, Thanks for your comment. A must watch for Al Pacino fans.

Puru@ShadowsGalore said...

Al Pacino at his best !!

Akshy said...

One of my fav movies with my fav actor:).Absolute masterpiece:).