Dog Day Afternoon is one of my all time favorite films. “As a New Hollywood Film” it’s easy to see how it stands out when being categorized as such a film. New Hollywood Cinema to me was a form of film that was extremely different from the movies produced around the time prior to this era. They seem to be grittier, a bit outlandish, and the characters are quirky.
In Dog Day Afternoon Sonny, played by the fantastic Al Pacino, is a bank-robber without any of the characteristics you’d normally associate with a criminal. The film sets itself apart from other films just because of the characters alone. Leon, Sonny’s “wife” is a male who needs a sex change. The subject of homosexuality seems to me to be an unlikely topic when it comes down to making a film of this era. As much as it’s a crime-drama, I found parts of the film to be hilarious. An example is when Sonny calls the bank teller hiding under the desk a “squirrel”, and then a few minutes later refers to her once again as a squirrel. It was amusing to me that the hostages seem unfazed by the middle of the film and are no longer frightened by the fact that they’re in the middle of a bank robbery.
I liked that it was based on a true story, it makes me believe that at this period in time, people slowly started to become more accepting of what would be considered unorthodox. If society was so bothered by the theme of homosexuality they wouldn’t tolerate a film like this, let along a film being made based off of something that had really happened.
The film also has a “Taxi Driver” kind of feel to it. I noticed that throughout the entire film there wasn’t any non-diegetic sounds, thoughts or soundtrack. I loved that the characters of Sonny and Sal became so likable to me, although they were supposed to be the so-called “bad guys”. I found the ending to be a bit abrupt and disappointing. Sals death came as such a surprise and watching Sonny get taken away in handcuffs was sad. I feel though, like this is what New Hollywood Cinema is aiming for. Overall I find this film to be fantastic.