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Dog Day Afternoon

Year: 1975
Production Co: Artists Entertainment Complex
Director: Sidney Lumet
Cast: Al Pacino, Charles Durning, Lance Henriksen
Probably like many film fans, all I knew about this film was that it had Al Pacino standing out side a bank, shouting to a jubilant crowd and making some sort of anti-establishment statement.

It's a true story, part Falling Down, part Natural Born Killers in that it shows a man at the end of his tether with society, and the subsequent following he generates on one fateful day in the 1970s.

We begin with a couple of guys robbing a bank. They take the staff hostage, the cops who up and they hole themselves inside while the media, onlookers and FBI descend.

As the story progresses, we learn more about Sonny (Pacino). Married but with a gay lover, he's robbing the bank to get the money for his boyfriend's sex change operation. None of that much to do with the resulting media storm aside from showing us how desperate he is.

There doesn't seem any deeper social comment aside from showing what happened in the actual case, but the odd sort of camaraderie Sonny builds up with Charles Durning's police inspector is interesting until he drops out of the movie once the cold, clinical and murderous FBI take over.

I expected something a little more politically charged with both Pacino and Sidney Lumet as director, but perhaps I missed it. But at least I now know what 'Attica! Attica!' means. It's one of those ones like 'Go ahead, make my day' and 'I love the smell of napalm in the morning'.

Watch for a very young Lance Henriksen as the slimy FBI agent.

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