Blow-Up ★★½

Upgrade, thanks to an adjustment of expectations -- if you realize that its dabbling into intrigue is a red herring, the attempts at poetry come across better. But still: not really a fan of this particular brand of existentialist arthouse iconography; it reads as too much of a scold, directed at precisely the things in which it flagrantly indulges, and as in the similarly structured L'Avventura, it seems to suffer from a director's contempt toward his own strengths. Its commentary on perception and apathy seems easy, even lazy, though there's the possibility that seeing this film through modern eyes cuts its potential insights at the knees (similarly, it's never been clear to me as a millennial whether Easy Rider would always have seemed as dumb as it does now). The very thing that makes it alluring -- its tempest of hyper-sexualized Swinging London decadence -- consigns it wholly to its age, thanks largely to the dim and nihilistic view it takes of humanity. But the film undeniably looks terrific and contains a couple of knockout scenes in the form of the one sequence that's actually exclusively devoted to the supposed plot (and lends the picture its name) and the blistering Yardbirds performance that makes most 1960s-vintage integrations of rock music into cinema seem goofy and facile.

I still hate the mimes.