Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon ★★★★½

Week 32: Past Host Week - kurt k

There's a point in Dog Day Afternoon, Sidney Lumet's profound bank heist film, in which a character is all smiles for the camera despite being a hostage and held at gunpoint. Robberies become entertainment and criminals become entertainment for us to sit around a couch for. Lumet has been America's most treasured directors as he has cornered the state of America at a certain point in time, whether its our presumptuous natures in 12 Angry Men, our obsession with the media in Network, or our fascination with no-gooders.

Al Pacino's Sonny Worzik is an emotionally charged and impulsive man. When the film opens, he's nervous, shaking, and ticking away like a time bomb. He's been in close contact with violence in Vietnam, and has been left with not much. His intentions for the robbery are noble, but he's nonetheless a bank robber. There is very little presented here in terms of character depth, but it is through Pacino's performance that imbues Sonny with subtle mannerisms and word choices that give us insight into him. This is a powerhouse performance from Pacino, whose impact has endured till today.

Going into Dog Day Afternoon, I wasn't expecting any more than a well directed thriller. What I got, however, is one of cinema's most well crafted heist film, one that has the heft, the emotion, and the complexity of any drama. This is a film that feels important to its time, in how we viewed the LGBTQ community, and how a criminal can become a hero to all his viewers.

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