The true story of a bank job that turned into a media circus in 1972.
Jan 15, 2009
It was much more grim than I expected. I do believe that I saw "Dog Day Afternoon" when it was in theatrical release back in 1975. Frankly, I remembered none of it. Al Pacino and John Cazale star in a motion picture that was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture. The plot revolves around a pair of losers who plan a bank robbery in Brooklyn on a steamy summer afternoon in 1972. Whether it can be attributed to poor planning, the fact that the our heroes biorhythm charts were in a down cycle that day or just plain bad luck, a simple bank job that should taken just a few minutes would evolve into a 12 hour ordeal involving 9 hostages from the bank and more than 250 armed police. So many twists and turns and it is all based on a true story! Now for whatever reason, I was expecting a rollicking comedy featuring the missteps of an incompetent pair of bank robbers. After all, Warner Brothers promoted this film as a "boisterous comedy-thriller". But there are very few yucks in "Dog Day Afternoon". Most of the film is devoted to revealing the sad and sordid personal life of the the mastermind of this operation, Sonny (played by Al Pacino). It seems that Sonny is a Vietnam veteran who is having a tough time re-adjusting to civilian life. But his problems run far deeper than that. Sonny has a wife and two kids at home while at the same time is married to another man. Meanwhile, his partner in crime Sal appears to just a follower and takes a decidely back seat to Sonny throughout the film. We learn very little about the reasons why Sal has decided to participate in such a crazy scheme.
While I thought that "Dog Day Afternoon" could be quite engrossing at times it was simply not as good as I expected. Perhaps the passage of time has diminished this film. In any event, while I found "Dog Day Afternoon" marginally enjoyable this is not a film I would ever care to see again. I wound up donating the DVD I just purchased to my local library. A bit of a disappointment.
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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti (drifter51)
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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The film was inspired by P.F. Kluge's article "The Boys in the Bank", which tells a similar story of the robbery of a Brooklyn bank by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Naturile. This article was published in Life in 1972. The film received generally positive reviews upon its September 1975 release by Warner Bros. Pictures, some of which referred to its anti-establishment tone. Dog Day Afternoon was nominated for several Academy Awards and Golden Globe awards, and won one Academy Award.