Dog Day Afternoon ★★★★½

It’s hard to look at Dog Day Afternoon as something completely unique because every film that came after Dog Day Afternoon that tried to be Dog Day Afternoon stole some technique from Dog Day Afternoon. The title just rolls off the tongue, clearly.

But what immediately stands out for me is the color palette. While maybe not direct with this usage, Dog Day Afternoon is consistently capturing the color white in a way perfectly akin to it’s themes. The buildings, the lights, the clothing, the vehicles, the skies. Maybe that’s just the general aesthetic of the 70s, but no film from this decade has ever felt as (subtly) direct with this palette as this one.

But these shades of white are never clean. The shirt is drenched in sweat, the vehicles are scuffed on their sides, the lights always have a certain tint to them, the skies are littered with helicopters. What I’m saying is Dog Day Afternoon, similar to the American criminal, is fascinating and bright on it’s surface. It’s, again, direct and deceptively inviting. But that brightness, up close, has scratches on it’s surface. A tint that suggests an imperfection often ignored and manipulated from afar. Basically, it’s just a cool movie and Al Pacino is hot.