I wish I had more time this week to talk about Dog Day Afternoon
, one of my favourite movies and surely one of the great American movies of the 70s, as self-contained as The Godfather is sprawling. It starts with the classic piano beat of Amoreena, a quick shot of Sonny's car
tucked in in between dogs and billboards pointing out that for all of the police and drama, today's events are just one moment in the hustle and bustle of New York life, and will be just as quickly forgotten.
I wish I had time to talk more about the amazing sound design. Jesus Christ that awful telephone ring that drills down into your brain like a jackhammer; the clicks and clacks of ordely banking that are disrupted when Sonny makes his move; the pock of tennis balls through the opening tune; the chopper blades and engine that drown out the radio chatter; the hoarse cry of Attica man!
; the retort of a shot that sends people screaming and fleeing; the obliterating scream of a jet engine.
I wish I had time to talk about how important queerness is to the plot without being some kind of prop for it, or the portrayal of the media,
the greatness of every supporting character from Chris Sarandon
and Penelope Allen
right on down to the pizza delivery guy,
or a thousand other things, including how prettily framed Pacino is in this movie, at the height of his wide-eyed beauty.
I wish I had time to rhapsodise about how precise and efficient and helpful Lumet's direction is, how it lays out the bank and its surrounds for us with clarity and hilarity. This skill seems to be essentially forgotten these days, but Lumet's direction in the bank is a marvel. The bank is a well-organised space that so perfectly set in our mind that a recent episode of Bob's Burgers,
of all things, was able to recreate it
, triggering instant recognition.
We never go big in the bank. The camera always sits at a natural height. The second we go outside it's all overheads and helicopters, all those barriers and the people that seep through them like molasses, those guns that can only with great effort be reholstered. Oh, the irony of that overkill because you know the smallness of what's going on inside -- two people are falling apart, sure, and that's a big deal, but the situation is so tiny.
Speaking of falling apart --( you got it man )
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