Earlier this month we lost an incredibly talented director in Sidney Lumet. I thought it would be fitting to hold a mini-fest of some of his best films. These are the ones I’d recommend.
12 Angry Men
This intense courtroom drama was Lumet’s first film. I love the exploration of human motivation and prejudice. Lumet Fun Fact: he shot the whole thing in 19 days.
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
The cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei, is amazing in Lumet’s last movie. It’s a fantastically acted and directed film, but I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again. It’s just too gut-wrenching. Maybe not the best business model, but a sure sign of how well done it is.
Dog Day Afternoon
You can tell Lumet loosened the reins on Pacino in Dog Day, compared with his direction in Serpico. You can see the real Pacnio brilliance/craziness start to shine through. Who knew that the excessive news media involvement in this true-life story, thought of as a “media circus” back then, wouldn’t cause anyone to bat an eye today?
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
This movie teaches us that a home life full of abuse, drugs, and booze is what makes a writer. Another way we learned that: every writer from the 50s.
Television networks concerned only with ratings and ad revenue churning out insipid trash TV? Turns out Howard Beale really was a prophet. TRUTH BOMB. Fun fact: Beatrice Straight won an Oscar for her perforance, despite the fact she was on screen for less than six minutes, total.