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'The Dog' movie review: A powerful documentary about Brooklynite John Wojtowicz

John Wojtowicz in front of The Chase Manhattan

John Wojtowicz in front of The Chase Manhattan Bank, which he attempted to rob in 1972, in Drafthouse Films' The Dog. Photo Credit: Drafthouse Films

In the annals of strange true stories, few are stranger than that of John "The Dog" Wojtowicz, the real-life Brooklynite whose 1972 robbery of a Chase Manhattan bank became a media sensation and inspired "Dog Day Afternoon."

This documentary, peppered with an older Wojtowicz's salty testimony ("I'm a pervert," he happily says), traces a fascinating life that saw him transition from a Goldwater Republican/Vietnam enlistee to an LGBT rights activist who robbed the bank to pay for his lover's sex change operation.

"He was bad and he was good," Wojtowicz's mother says of her son, and it's that dichotomy that structures the film. This inscrutable, promiscuous criminal was also a man capable of great, tender love. He took men and women hostage and also proudly, dramatically displayed his sexuality at a time when the LGBT community lived in the shadows. You couldn't find a better subject for a movie.


Documentary by Allison Berg,  Frank Keraudren | Not Rated

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