Friday, October 18, 2013

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Today's film is Dog Day Afternoon.  It's based on a true story.  I love films based on true stories, and in this one the real story is even more outrageous than the movie.

Al Pacino stars as Sonny, the main bank robber.  In this film he was 35, but the real Sonny was only 18.  Also, the real Sonny got $230,000 from the bank, whereas movie Sonny got less than $2000 as the bank pick up had already occurred.  I wasn't sure about his partner, Sal.  Not much is said about him.  How did they meet?  What about the third robber who chickened out?  Whose idea was it to rob the bank and how did they plan it?

Even though the robbery should have been quick, the police and news media turn it into this huge spectacle that lasted hours.  Sonny realizes that with hostages he can do what he wants and get whatever he demands.  He wants to go to the airport and fly to Algeria.  ! Why Algeria??  He asks his partner which country he wants to go to, and he replies, "Wyoming".  That was really funny.

Sonny was trying to get money to pay for his lover's sex change operation.  All of $2500 dollars.  If that doesn't show us how much medical costs in America have skyrocketed I don't know what does.  I stayed in the hospital for one week and the expenses were $15,000.  And that's with insurance.  At the end, we learn that his partner does get his surgery, but Sonny is sent to jail for 20 years.  The real Sonny served his full sentence of 20 years and died in 2006 of cancer.  His lover died before Sonny was released.

Interesting fact: this movie was filmed in winter, but took place in summer, so to prevent the actors' breath from being seen, they ate ice before they spoke!  I liked this film and I will give it a 7/10.

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