Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon ★★★★½

Dog Day Afternoon is, in no doubt, a film that isn't perfect. The editing and camera movement are somewhat choppy in a few areas, and I feel as though some characters weren't done in a way that makes them compelling or interesting. I was also struggling to find out the central theme of this film after it ended. What was this picture trying to say? I couldn't figure it out. When I asked that question is when I found the answer. The answer isn't too elaborate or superbly philosophical. It is the story of a man who's actions don't reflect who he is inside. It is about how society forces good people to do bad things. The motivations Sonny had were of completely good nature. Society won't let him or his wife be happy, and he is forced to do this kinda stuff. It may seem bizarre calling a crime/thriller like this beautiful, but the message really is. Yes, the actions in this film, like robbing a bank, are terrible. They're painted as bad things. Hell, all this chaos in the film roots out of the fact that he committed this crime. But the central theme in the film is even more potent when you realize Sonny's motivations for ROBBING A BANK. Lumet has proven himself to be one of the greats, and here, I feel, is where I grasped his style the best. He is a filmmaker who makes gigantic stories out of small scale things. How many court hearings happen in a day? How many bank robberies happen in a day? How many different TV channels are there in the United States alone!? It's insane how this guy makes something so compelling out of things that have so much potential to be really boring, and things that are seemingly insignificant. He's truly a magnificent director. And I just love the characterization and writing here, certainly deserves the 'writing mastery' tag. Pacino just goes off the rails and delivers so much energy and emotion in his performance. His range is absolutely tremendous and he is most definitely one of the greatest actors we've ever seen. John Cazale is great too, he shows some restraint and fear with simply his eyes, and I admire actors who can deliver performances with nuance. The cinematography is stylized and fills the entire screen with intense greys and lit shadows. This is a film that never once loses you, nor does it ever feel pointless or boring. It's constantly engaging and intense, and it does everything in a spectacular fashion. A watch that's worth your time. ATTICA

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