Monday, August 15, 2005

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Al Pacino is the linchpin to this otherwise-uneven (and heavily overrated, if also influential) film. Sidney Lumet goes for a you-are-there professionalism, but that's the problem: He undermines himself by never quite getting the tone right. The direction observes rather than involves, and the parts where Lumet tries to amp up the tension come off as shrill. Granted, Pacino has to also take a bit of the blame for this -- he's a notorious overactor, and the famed "Attica!" scene is a bit embarassing. But it's the quieter parts (the creation of the will; the telephone conversation with his lover) in which he does what he can to make this sparkle. He picks up a lot of Lumet's slack. Great climax, too. (Lance Henriksen! Yeah!)

Grade: B


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