ALLISON BERG & FRANK KERAUDREN’S THE DOG — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Fabulously entertaining, oddly moving, compulsively funny, more than a tad sad, and ultimately illuminating, Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren’s The Dog is one of the best documentaries in recent memory. Focusing on the wild antics of sex-obsessed bank robber John Wojtowicz (the real life inspiration for Al Pacino in Sidney Lumet’s classic Dog Day Afternoon) and how he arrived at the idea to rob a Chase Manhattan in order to pay for his lover’s sex-change operation, the filmmakers have crafted a highly engrossing time capsule back to 1970’s NYC as the explosive Gay Rights Movement began to take shape. Incredibly informative yet never dry due largely in part to Wojtowicz’s bold, brazen, brutally open, extra vulgar, and deeply honest personality, The Dog utilizes classic film clips, a dynamic soundtrack, and well-researched archival footage that helps to paint an unpredictable portrait of a tortured soul. And just wait until you meet Wojtowicz’s brother and mother – you can’t make this stuff up. The final act of the documentary turns unexpectedly poignant and tragic, and it’s then that the film turns into a powerful statement of never giving up on your dreams and how you should never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Make no mistake, Wojtowicz was a complicated man, a convicted criminal, serial lover, scoundrel, crusader, momma’s boy – a true lover and fighter. It’s fascinating all around and it’ll make you crave a viewing of Dog Day Afternoon by its conclusion.

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