The 2013 documentary, The Dog, focuses on the events leading up to the attempted robbery of a Brooklyn bank, which inspired the movie, Dog Day Afternoon. At first, this sounds like a basic tale of criminals planning their heist. However, The Dog is a unique look into the mind of the robbery’s mastermind, John Wojtowicz, who was portrayed by Al Pacino in the 1975 movie.
When first introduced to John, you meet a perverted mind that refuses to stop. He is an unfiltered individual, who provides the viewer with a hilarious tale of his wacky adventure, which meant to accumulate enough money to provide for his lover’s sex change operation.
After we are introduced to John and are given a little information about his infamous crime, we begin to explore the man’s backstory. We get to know Carmen Bifluco, who was John’s first wife. Of course, the pair separated two years after being married. The split probably had much to do with John’s homosexuality, which eventually led to his relationship with Ernest Aron, who was later known as Elizabeth Debbie Eden. The pair met in 1971 and hit it off.
Things weren’t meant to last. Ernest, despite John’s wishes, eventually wants to have a sex change operation. In order to be able to afford this type of surgery, one would have to rob a bank! Welp, thats exactly what John planned to do. On August 22, 1972, John Wojtowicz sets out with two pals, Salvatore Naturale and Robert Westenberg, to pull off a brazen heist of a Chase Manhattan Bank in Gravesend, Brooklyn.
Things do not go according to plan. Instead of making off with thousands of dollars, the trio gets trapped inside the bank, with seven hostages. For fourteen hours, the group holds the police at bay. The situation quickly escalates, but will John, Salvatore and Robert be able to make off with the cash? Will Ernest ever get his sex change? Or will the trio go down in a blaze of glory?
Thanks to the wicked mind and tongue of John Wojtowicz, The Dog is a hilarious documentary from beginning to end. At times, it becomes difficult to take serious, but it is hard not to listen and take notice. Although the film gets a little slow near the end, it is a wonderful ride, which eventually delves into a bleak realm of chaos, rejection and death.
Ultimately, The Dog is a good documentary that is certainly worth your time. It deserves a 7.5 out of 10.