Classic Hostage, um, Drama?

I'd been curious about this film since seeing it referenced in Swordfish (yeah, I know, but that'll have to be a different review). The hostage drama is a well known genre in hollywood, but every picture since 1975 must pay some sort of homage to Dog Day Afternoon. The movie unfolds with each element painstakingly presented, and it's achingly believable. At the same time, there is a thread of the bizarre here, starting with gathered crowds taunting the police and eventually leading to Al Pacino's motive of buying a sex change operation for his lover, Leon - incidently played by Chris Sarandon, who I found myself sitting next to at the Breckenridge Film Festival (1997 I believe - his film Road Ends played there). Despite the potential for laughs in some of this material, it really does stay on the dramatic track. This is necessary viewing for anyone with even a slight interest in the genre.
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