Anyone who has more than a passing interest in American movies knows about Sidney Lumet, who died today at age 86. He didn’t have as flashy a style from movie-to-movie as some of his auteur counterparts, but instead, at his best, seemed to know exactly how to tell the story. And he has an IMDb page that most directors should be envious of: 12 Angry Men, his debut (!) which manages to make 12 guys in a room talking one of the most suspenseful thrillers ever. Network, a satire so trenchant that people like Glenn Beck (one of the types of guys being targeted by the movie’s satire) would perversely latch on to it and use it as a rallying cry. Dog Day Afternoon, which has two masterful performance from two of the greatest movie actors ever, Al Pacino and John Cazale. And these are just three movies in a long list of classics. Check him out if you haven’t before.
And lest you think he was too old to still make good movies – it was only a few years ago when he made Before The Devil Knows Your Dead, which has the cinematic freshness and snap of a movie made by a much younger man. That movie leads me to believe he still had some good movies left in him, which makes his passing even sadder.