A media critique along the lines of Network, also directed by Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon dramatizes an actual, botched bank robbery in New York City that turned into a television circus. For the hostages, for the robbers, for the cops and crowd gathered outside, it all becomes a big show, even though lives hang in the balance. Al Pacino, at the height of his talents, stars as Sonny, the misguided mastermind who becomes increasingly unglued during the standoff. ‘I speak what I feel!’ Sonny exclaims early on, and that’s exactly how Pacino acts – irrationally, running purely on emotion. In his occasional visits out to the street to negotiate with the cops, Sonny’s initial fear gradually gives way to a cocky strut. Soon he’s performing for the cheering crowds. Such fame is illusory, however, as Dog Day Afternoon demonstrates in its brutal final act, after Sonny and his partner (John Cazale) make an ill-fated deal with the police. They may have been entertaining television fodder for awhile, but the movie reminds us that life still goes on – or perhaps doesn’t – once the cameras are turned off.