Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person who suffers from this particular phenomenon- because it feels, to me, like I am all alone in this one. Tell me if you ever experience this: You sit down to watch a unanimously loved and widely respected classic film, you don't like it for one reason or another, and then you end up feeling guilty and inferior as a result of said opinion. It's irrational, really-- no one truly judges you on the way you feel about old movies (in fact, no one really cares about our opinions at all). So why do I feel like a stupid, ignorant teenager every time I can't get into a movie I'm "supposed" to like? It's an interesting conundrum...
I tried to start this one last night, but kept getting distracted...maybe I should have let those distractions keep my attention. Afternoon spends its entirety depicting a singular event- a botched bank robbery- from all angles of perception. I guess I understand what director Stanley Lumet was aiming for with his incredibly narrow scope of focus...perhaps he wanted to capture the claustrophobic, even timeless feel of the perpetuated heist...and this, he certainly achieves. I just found myself growing tired of the constant dialogue and monotonous scenery (come on, Stan, not even a costume change?? Throw us shallow kids a bone). And while I'm sure that Lumet intended to convey some sort of esoteric anti-Vietnam-pro-gay-rights-power-to-the-people hidden meaning sort of thing, the message got lost in translation for me when I couldn't invest in the story or characters (get it?? invest?? bank puns...)
Despite starring in an uncomfortably boring picture, Al Pacino still manages to rock. His skillfully faceted Sonny is puzzling and inviting-- quite a feat considering the fact that we're talking about actually liking an angry gay bank robber. Sadly, Pacino lost out to Jack Nicholson for Best Actor at the 1975 Academy Awards...but just because he's a loser doesn't mean we love him any less.
I think the main point I need to stress here is that Dog Day Afternoon is not a bad movie. Brilliantly fashioned, quirky, borderline ridiculous at times (and riddled with gifted performances, to top it off), the film is sure to please (and has pleased) a whole spectrum of viewers looking for a different kind of statement. It may not have piqued my interest...but I represent a very thin slice of the movie-going population (the high school girl...not exactly the bank-robbin type) and therefore my opinion should hold little to no weight (as should most of the opinions of high school girls). Though I do consider myself to be a slightly more discerning viewer than the average aimless teenager, I realize that some movies (like this one) are just going to be beyond me and you should realize that in no way am I trying to disparage the great pictures of the past.