Some friends recently saw Dog Day Afternoon for the first time, and talking with them about it got me thinking about Sidney Lumet, and how I hadn’t seen Serpico in a long time.
Lumet’s filmmaking here is characteristically straightforward; aside from playing around with time a little bit–the movie begins at the end of its story, Sunset Blvd.-style, then goes back in time to work toward the conclusion we all know is coming–the director mostly just stays out of the way and lets the story unfold.
I had remembered that story as a gritty 70’s NYPD story like Fort Apache the Bronx, but it’s acutally got more in common with Silkwood. Serpico’s a relentlessly clean cop in a relentlessly corrupt department, and his virtue leads him into serious trouble.
Fun to see 1973’s NYC; it’s practically unrecognizable. I wonder how many NYPD officers can afford a nice apartment with a courtyard in West Village these days.
Maybe the Chief?