25 October 2014

Blow Out (1981)
107 min.
Directed by Brian De Palma.
With John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May.
One of Brian De Palma's best thrillers.

Travolta is Jack Terry, a sound effects technician who believes he may have accidentally recorded a political assassination. Or has he? A ruthless killer played by John Lithgow marks Travolta for murder, while the lovely - and always terrific - Nancy Allen plays a hooker named Sally also caught up in the whole mess.

So the question becomes: is the larger-than-life plot all part of Jack's fertile imagination, or are there truly huge consequences at stake? Jack better move fast, because his newfound friend Allen may not live to see another Liberty Day in Philadelphia!

De Palma clearly owes something to Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up (1966) here, although what we're not entirely sure. There are some slight echoes in plot and theme between the two, and there's a similar attention (obsession?) with the interplay between sound and silence.

Many people have criticized the ending of Blow Out for being too exploitative and cruel, but we think it's a perfect climax to a near perfect effort from De Palma.

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