In Sidney Lumet‘s gritty heist drama, Al Pacino hadn’t yet become a parody of himself. He’s still a great actor but in some of his recent films, like Heat and The Devil’s Advocate, his acting has taken on a broad, over-the-top quality not found in his earlier work. In Dog Day Afternoon, even standing on the sidewalk, chanting “Attica! Attica!” Pacino never oversells the performance, making Sonny a nuanced and sympathetic character.
There are very few movies that, after 18 years, I react to the same way I did when I first saw it. The Princess Bride is definitely one of those movies. I get exactly the same feeling of giddy delight from watching this that I did back in 1987. As a fantasy, it takes its fairy-tale elements just serious enough that it doesn’t feel condescending while still managing a knowing wink at a normally cynical modern audience.
Rob Reiner‘s fourth movie is as different from the three that came before it as they are from each other and nothing much like the many he has directed since. He obviously brings a great deal of love and respect to William Goldman‘s original novel and successfully communicated his enthusiasm to a talented cast.