Truth is stranger than fiction, they say, but John Wojtowicz, the real-life protagonist of the 1972 Brooklyn hostage seige (filmed by Sidney Lumet as ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ with Al Pacino) is stranger yet. Stokman’s documentary reveals the possibly schizophrenic Wojtowicz still in the neighbourhood, going under the name of ‘dog’. He proves highly demanding in the terms he insists on for co-operation, asking for control and sums of money the director cannot agree to – we only hear Wojtowicz’s recorded telephone voice. Talking heads are wide-ranging: from Lumet and Wojtowicz’s ex-wife to investigating FBI officers, members of the police and bank tellers directly involved with the hostage-taking. Wojtowicz’s declared motive was to raise money for his gay lover’s sex-change operation; the light Stokman’s not entirely satisfactory film throws on this part of his life proves more intriguing than his coverage of the controversy over the shooting of Wojtowicz’s partner.
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