Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB.
USA, 1975. Warner Bros., Artists Entertainment Complex. Screenplay by Frank Pierson, based on a magazine article by P.F. Kluge, Thomas Moore, from the book by Leslie Waller. Cinematography by Victor J. Kemper. Produced by Martin Bregman,Martin Elfand. Production Design by Charles Bailey. Costume Design by Anna Hill Johnstone. Film Editing by Dede Allen.
Brilliant film version of the real-life events surrounding Brooklyn resident Sonny Wortzik, who tries with his pals to rob a bank to pay for his boyfriend’s sex-change operation. It is supposed to be a ten-minute robbery, in and out, but when the police show up the boys have to take some bank tellers hostage and the street outside becomes a war zone; when the media and the public catch wind of this, all of Brooklyn becomes a circus. Al Pacino and John Cazale are fantastic as the criminals, Chris Sarandon wonderful as Sonny’s suicidal boyfriend, and Penelope Allen my favourite performance in the film as the smart-talking head teller of the bank who instantly gains the nickname “Mouth”. Other cast members include Charles Durning as the policeman in charge of handing the hostage situation and a very young Carol Kane (the same year she was Oscar-nominated for Hester Street) as one of the tellers who’s worried about jeopardizing her marriage by getting home too late. Edge-of-your-seat tension (thanks to Dede Allen’s editing) and the added bonus of some great comedy that comes from watching these guys and their lack of expertise in the matter of solid crime.
Academy Award: Best Original Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Al Pacino); Best Supporting Actor (Chris Sarandon); Best Director (Sidney Lumet); Best Film Editing
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Actor-Drama (Al Pacino); Best Supporting Actor (John Cazale); Best Supporting Actor (Charles Durning); Best Director (Sidney Lumet); Best Screenplay