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  • Summary: Coming of age in the 1960s, John Wojtowicz' libido was unrestrained even by the libertine standards of the era, with multiple wives and lovers, both women and men. In August 1972, he attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank to finance his lover's sex-reassignment surgery, resulting in aComing of age in the 1960s, John Wojtowicz' libido was unrestrained even by the libertine standards of the era, with multiple wives and lovers, both women and men. In August 1972, he attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank to finance his lover's sex-reassignment surgery, resulting in a fourteen-hour hostage situation that was broadcast live on television. Three years later, John was portrayed by Al Pacino as "Sonny," and his crime immortalized in one of the most iconic New York movies of all time, Dog Day Afternoon. The film had a profound influence on Wojtowicz (who pronounced his name "Woto-wits"), and when he emerged from a six-year prison sentence, he was known by his self-imposed nickname: "The Dog." Drawing upon extraordinary archival footage, the film shuffles between the 1970s and the 2000s. Touching upon the sexual revolution of the 1970s, we gain a first-hand perspective on New York's historical gay liberation movement in which Wojtowicz played an active role. In later footage, he remains a subversive force, backed by the unconditional love and headstrong wit of his mother Terry. The hows and whys of the bank robbery are recounted in gripping detail by Wojtowicz and various eyewitnesses, and don't necessarily always align with one another. [Drafthouse Films] Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Aug 8, 2014
    100
    Co-directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren seem to be operating from a place of nonjudgmental curiosity, so pure and sustained that it becomes indistinguishable from love. They can't get enough of John Wojtowicz.
  2. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Aug 8, 2014
    90
    Though The Dog can be seen through any number of lenses — a study of media distortion, an illustration of life-sustaining grandiosity, a love story gone deliriously wrong — it's perhaps most meaningful as an exploration of the limits of the gay rights movement's political correctness.
  3. Reviewed by: Josh Modell
    Aug 7, 2014
    83
    As a portrait of a life lived strangely — and if you asked its subject, perfectly, with no regrets — The Dog is charming.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Aug 14, 2014
    75
    Bizarre, fascinating, and frustrating documentary.
  5. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Aug 21, 2014
    75
    While Wojtowicz’s shape-shifting character is the major source of fascination here, the archival footage, including with is terrifically effective in evoking the tumultuous era and occasionally providing a reality check to the Dog’s boastful version of his life.
  6. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Aug 7, 2014
    70
    Talking heads aside, the movie gets a big boost from the wealth of news footage and post-standoff reportage the filmmakers cull from archives.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Aug 7, 2014
    60
    And always there’s Wojtowicz himself, who died in 2006. His patter and persona must be seen to be believed. This guy was a piece of work, and so is The Dog.

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