Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon ★★★★★

1975 Ranking 

My Top 100 Films 

Can you believe this weather Frank? Perfect climate for a Dog Day Afternoon viewing, in addition to it being on the date of John Cazale’s birth - he would’ve turned 85 today. 

The greatest heist movie about two of the most incompetent crooks ever. Everything amplifies this. Al Pacino at his very best as Sonny Wolowitz - all neurotic, stressed out, out of control, always both a few steps ahead and a whole street behind. ‘Girlie, please.’ Cazale as Sal - stoic, deadpan, deadly serious yet seriously funny too. Everyone is perfect, one of the best ensemble casts ever. 

Relevant as ever - the media hysteria, the scene of the cops tackling an unarmed black man, the nasty homophobia directed at Sonny. Definitely a lot to debate, in a wider context, how the transgender character of Leon (Chris Sarandon) is handled, but within the narrative she is treated with compassion and the relationship between her and Sonny definitely resonates. 

Sidney Lumet’s direction + Dede Allen’s editing is a combination made in heaven. Every shot choice is perfect. Whether it’s a sweaty close-up, the lighting, a wider establishing shot to show the spectacle. Whether the scene needs to amp the pace up a bit or slow things down a little. 

Kind of sad how Sonny has two spouses, kids, a doting mom and all the media attention and Sal has nothing.

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