Yet another year with yet another update.
2012 version can be found here.
2013 version can be found here.
A soundman accidentally records the evidence that proves a car "accident" was murder, and consequently finds himself in danger.
I'm lowering the rating on this from my last viewing, but not because I enjoyed in any less. On the contrary: if anything I enjoyed it more with the benefit of hindsight and the ability to focus on particular elements of the film. Rather, I'm giving it a lower rating this time around because I can see where other audiences might not love it the way I do.
There are several aspects of the film which are pulpy or cheesy or even slightly thin or superficial. In particular, Nancy Allen's ditz of a character, John Lithgow's cartoonishly evil villain, and Pino Donaggio's lavishly bombastic soundtrack all feel like something out of a trashy slasher film. But for me, that's part…
"The bang was before the blowout."
A movie sound man stands on a bridge, recording the sounds of the night. He then hears something - a car. The vehicle comes into view as he witnesses it crashing off the road and into the small lake below. He quickly dives into the lake and manages to rescue a female passenger from the backseat. The driver, the governor of Philadelphia and a Presidential nominee, is dead.
The sound man, named Jack (Travolta), plays back his audio recording of the car crash and hears what seems to be a gunshot right before the car takes its plunge into the lake. Jack believes that the gunshot is what caused…
No one wants to know about conspiracy any more!
Oh, I beg to differ...
Actually, I was never a big fan of conspiracy films. I mean I like them, but it's not a sub-genre I was ever quick to hunt down.
I was never a big Travolta fan.
I was never a big De Palma fan.
Who knew that by putting them all together would make an instant favorite? I sure as hell didn't.
First, I gotta say, I'm with Quentin Tarantino on this one...why the hell did directors never use John Travolta to his full potential after this one? I mean, shit man. He's just incredible. Every one else is great too, but Travolta completely owns this show and…
Everything I wanted but didn't know. From the very first frame I was hooked. The film has the look and feel of something made in the 70's and I guess it's close enough.
I loved everything about it. The music is still playing in my head. It hits all the notes one could want. Dramatic, chilling, fun and beautiful when the scene calls for it. It really sells the deeper moments between Travolta and Allen - not that the actors don't do a good enough job selling it on their own. In fact, this is probably Travolta's finest performance. I'm with the guy all the way. And Nancy Allen is so sweet and endearing in this role. Normally her type…
Blow Up and The Conversation as filtered through Brian De Palma is actually a pretty good formula for a film. De Palma is a talented filmmaker who knows how to insert a little fun into his tense thrillers, and while there are moments when he lets his cheezy instincts get the better of him, there are also moments where that really works--see the later scene where John Travolta drives through the Liberty Day parade at full speed, for instance.
This film is full of great shots, but the one that stuck out most is the one where the prostitute is in the subway station bathroom, and the Liberty Bell strangler walks in. It's shot from above, with the prostitute in…
Brian De Palma is one of the most underrated directors of all time. Yes, I said it. From his horror classics like Carrie to his erotic thrillers like Body Double and Dressed to Kill, and of course his contributions to the gangster genre like Scarface and The Untouchables; De Palma is a varied and accomplished director, and his filmography reflects that.
But I wasn't even prepared for the tragic and gorgeous masterpiece that is Blow Out. I just can't even describe it, this film is a knockout from start to finish. From the delirious and sleazy opening to the jaw-dropping and devastating end, Blow Out is so engaging from start to finish.
The Awesome: The direction by De Palma is…
Amazing that a film that riffs on BLOW-UP, THE CONVERSATION, and maybe even CHINATOWN a very little bit can have so little emotional or intellectual impact. Travolta's limited range doesn't help here, as he really only has one face and mood to lock into for "anguish," for example; he's capable of bringing many kinds of characters to life, but I think he was the wrong choice for this role. He also carries more than his share of the responsibility for the lack of chemistry between himself and Nancy Allen. The movie looks great, typical for a Mann film, and the camera angles that suggest surveillance do add to the paranoid atmosphere, but overall I think the stylistic flourishes which often…
Visual Composition 101: this film is a lesson in cinema.
This isn't quite as good as Carrie, but it's still damn good. John Travolta is a sound guy who gets stuck in the middle of a political assassination plot when he accidentally records the audio of the event. It is a very tense and nasty thriller and the ending is just brutal.
The perfect mix of cool, calm, frantic, and intense makes Brian De Palma's Blow Out a calm, collective thriller that only De Palma could create. Helping to support the script and direction, John Travolta's performance is smooth and focused, it's definitely one of his best. The music has that early 80's feel and man, it sounds great. Rounding out the film is groundbreaking camerawork and John Lithgow, who is always awesome. Blow Out is an excellent thriller that teaches you something about film making, too.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a World Series Game 7 to watch.
Pretty great, and for long stretches pretty perfect. Some amazing visuals (and sound design of course). Enjoyment may depend on how much you respond to the plot diversion in the final act - I don't mind the change in focus (it makes the earlier stuff even creepier) but Lithgow's character is a bit cheesy - but the final few scenes are nearly sublime. I might be underrating this at 4 stars - it's very close to 4.5.
A love letter to the now disappearing analog filmmaking of its era, and a portrait of the political cynicism infused in that decade too. Brian De Palma's visceral and haunting paranoid thriller Blow Out is outstanding entertainment.
In a career of excellent cinema, Blow Out might be DePalma's best.
Basically, this movie is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich--tasty from beginning to end. Perfect direction, excellent performances, interesting script, amazing opening scene, amazing ending scene.
Hell, I could watch the scene of Travolta standing in a room of pulsating reels all day.
"S'good scream. S'good scream. S'good scream…"
A delightfully preposterous conspiracy thriller presented in glorious split-screen, split-diopter De Palma-vision.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 165/743
Another year, another update. 2012 List can be found here.
The following is a really extensive and great list of…