For when that friend asks you to introduce him to some really great films. This list is not meant to…
Murder has a sound all of its own!
Jack Terry is a master sound recordist who works on grade-B horror movies. Late one evening, he is recording sounds for use in his movies when he hears something unexpected through his sound equipment and records it. Curiosity gets the better of him when the media become involved, and he begins to unravel the pieces of a nefarious conspiracy. As he struggles to survive against his shadowy enemies and expose the truth, he does not know whom he can trust.
"now that's a scream"
the eternal search for truth (through images & sound) obscured by a corrupt nation, built & celebrated on top of the dead
The works of Brian De Palma are cinema's comfort food, and Blow Out is the tastiest of all. Plus, it has John Travolta, and an ending for the ages.
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…
Echoing plot and character elements from Coppola's underrated masterful Classic The Conversation, Blow Out is probably Brian De Palma's best film, and certainly his most thrilling. It's a beautifully shot and taut thriller that works at every angle, and a dreamy score to boot.
The very first thing I noticed watching Blow Out was the clear and obvious similarities the story has to The Conversation, and as I progressed, this feeling only became more and more overwhelming, until the two films started to blur together for me. Did Coppola purposefully create a strikingly similar story, or do great minds really just think alike? The similarities certainly didn't dampen my experience or opinion of the film, and while I still love…
I haven't written anything about Brian De Palma and that's surprising. Ten years ago I was obsessed with his films. I studied every one with complete fascination. I had most of them memorized. I bought every book about him that I could get my hands on and took extensive notes from them, as if I were his biographer. I compiled my own De Palma scrapbook with interviews, film reviews, concept art, and storyboards. De Palma is the reason I'm not just a fan of film. He's the reason I'm consumed by them.
Blow Out is an astonishing film. It is sophisticated and focused. It's also incredibly eloquent, indicative of a director in his prime. It's a film of technical virtuosity.…
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…
De Palma’s entry in the Coppola-Antonioni surveillance sleuthing triptych, which as you know is extremely my shit. Using the cheezy slasher movie as a bookend suggests loss of innocence as a major theme; there’s also the loss of national innocence by invoking Watergate and Kennedy (to say nothing of all that red, white, and blue lighting.) My memory of Blow Out had filed down all the other crazy goings-on, like the cover-up job that slides all too easily into ritualistic serial killing, but what I’ll never forget is how it all ends. Jesus.
Another DePalma first time viewing this year. I also saw Dressed to Kill and Body Double for the first time recently. I'd say, as of now, this is my favorite of the three. Just a fantastic, Hitcockian thriller. And that ending!
This works when it taps into the paranoia surrounding post Watergate, early 1980s America. Unfortunately for me, it evolves into more of a genre film. Obviously, there is nothing at all wrong with genre films, just DePalma's take on them. Carrie didn't work at all and this fails in similar ways. Travolta doesn't work for me especially near the end. The final 10 minutes which have gone down in film history as one of the greatest endings ever, are ruined for me because of Travolta. I actually laughed at the final shot. Not a fan.
When John Travolta is on fire it can be like someone suddenly turns on the light after you have been lying in the dark for a while. It's always surprising and a little startling. You often forget how good he can be.
This was the first Brian De Palmer movie I have clicked with. I have always found him a little to over blown, all style just constantly thrown at you. Maybe its because of the day when I am watching multipal movies tdoday and I am a little open to different styles. But what ever it was this Hitchcock homaged really worked on me. It was all the things it needed to be, colourful, tense with a insanely strong cast. I always love to see John Lithgow creepy.
Top-tier De Palma. My only beef is with the chase sequence which, while well-directed, is a little over-the-top and would likely have caused far more casualties than the life that was hoped to be saved.
I love De Palma's nod to a nascent horror sub-genre at the very beginning of the movie. He even appears to take the piss out of himself and accusations of his Hitchcock-copyist detractors with yet another shower scene.
Whereas Antonioni used Blow Up to unravel a murder with photography, and Coppola did the same with sound – De Palma goes a step further and uses both, and to great effect.
Before Quentin Tarantino essentially brought John Travolta back from the cinematic dead, De Palma cast him in one of the finest thrillers of the 1980s. The King of the modern Hitchcockian throwback instead draws from Antonioni's Blow-Up and Coppola's The Conversation (one of these is clearly superior to the other) to create what very well be his masterpiece. Travolta is also at the peak of his powers here as he embodies the role of Jack Terry, a movie sound recordist caught in something deadly.
The shot composition is some of the best I've seen for any thriller, as De Palma and his team move the camera with effortless grace across the set. All this results in a sucker-punch to the chin of cinematic genius.
And then there's that ending. Good fucking god. I won't spoil it for you, cause you're in for a treat.
File this one under great execution. The reputation of Brian De Palma used to confuse me, because a lot of it was based on these early movies which I hadn't seen, and those of his later ones that I had seen didn't quite fit the idea of a lurid, showy Hitchcock obsessive; now that I've seen a bit more, I understand where that came from, and Blow Out must be a paragon of that. All his trademarks are in this, from tracking shots to crane shots to clockwork suspense set pieces. Thanks to its plot, we expect and get terrific sound design, but on top of that the cinematography is wonderful, communicating the sensationalism from a plot played otherwise in…
A good performance from John Travolta.
Generally considered among the best works of Brian De Palma, Blow Out was a movie that I was extremely looking forward to, and on a first viewing, just failed to meet those high expectations. While it was an enjoyable thrill ride, Blow Out felt like a movie that began to lose some steam as it neared its final act. A captivating premise, apparently lifted off the Michelangelo Antonioni Blowup, it was the performances of John Travolta and Nancy Allen, and the genuine chemistry between the two stars that gave a sense of naturalness and joy to their interactions.
I do look forward to seeing this movie again, because having revisited Scarface and The Untouchables in very recent times, I am convinced De Palma's best work lies in those movies which can be labelled rip-offs of great cinematic works.
Quentin Tarantino's favorite films based on the internet pulled from multiple sources.