Thursday, January 5, 2017

Film Pairing – Let’s Rob A Bank, Maybe Two

I’m a fan of heist films. The theft of fine art and jewels from the very rich or money and gold from the banks has always struck me as romantic rather than criminal, especially when no lives are lost in the process. On this double bill, one film is a classic drama, the other a clever puzzle. What makes them special is that they are not just about the heist, but that they offer an original, thought-provoking twist in the story telling.

Dog Day Afternoon — If you are of a certain age and have always loved movies, you’ve seen this one.  If not, see it.  If so, see it again. It is based on a true and unusual story, especially for its time. Sidney Lumet directed this multiple award winning film released in 1975 and based on the news article, “The Boys In The Park” by P.F. Kluge. Though most of the film takes place inside a branch bank in Brooklyn, one gets a great overview of the 70s, culturally and politically. Al Pacino is extraordinary as the central figure. The entire cast, which also includes Charles Durning, John Cazalle, Chris Sarandon, and James Broderick turn in fine performances. Credit also goes to Penelope Allen as the head teller. Pacino, who plays an unemployed perhaps unemployable young man, has a wife and a lover, the latter needing expensive gender-changing surgery.  Pacino decides to rob a bank to get the money and creates a situation that shows his character’s humanity and almost comic incompetence. This is a must see for film lovers and historians.
Inside Man — Justice isn’t always served the way you think it might. Inside Man, a 2006 release is a solid entry in the heist genre. Directed by Spike Lee, the intricate robbery plot is exercised by Clive Owen who faces Denzel Washington, representing the law.   Jodie Foster and Christopher Plummer add fascinating dimensions to the already clever screenplay by Russell Gewirtz. Actors Willem Dafoe and Chiwetel Ejiofor are also featured in this quick-paced drama that challenges the imagination.  How are the robbers going to get out with what they want and a couple of dozen dozen hostages kept safe? It seems impossible. Will there be a bloodbath? Perhaps we viewers make too many assumptions.

My suggestions for sustenance on these cool nights involve the drug caffeine.  Why not an Irish coffee?  Or some other coffee mix with or without alcohol that will keep you buzzed and able to keep up with Pacino’s typical high-energy performance.

1 comment:

gp said...

Great post. I love Lumet's work. His final film also involves a robbery...which is kind of like saying Psycho involves a knife.